Author: Hardy, Larche

MOLD Archive for 11/12
Milestone…Ah, yeah, I’ll have a light trim, a shave and that old piece of junk over there. Whaddah ya want for it? In 1943 Bill Monroe bought his 1923 Gibson Lloyd Loar F-5 mandolin (#73987) in a barber shop in Florida for $150. Click here to have a gander.

Okay, so where do I sign up? Holy mackerel, we were pretty sure the CBA would hire someone good to take over its Music Camp program, but Peter and Janet are, well, spectacular. Click here for a report on them from Geoff Sargent, the board camp liaison.

Listening to bluegrass was never so easy--A Moldman recommendation…Worldwide Bluegrass at spins some great stuff and it’s non-stop. Click here

Keep those emails coming--From the Moldy Mail Bag yesterday…”Dear Moldman, or whatever you real name is. I’m writing this to you because for years my letters and emails to the so-called ‘web master’ of the CBA web site have been ignored. I’m hoping, but frankly not really expecting, that you will show some respect and respond in a serious manner to my complaint. Recently I read in a reposting of the Mother Lode Bluegrass Newsletter about the following event: “Satrday, December 8 A Celtic Christmas with Molly’s Revenge at the Sutter Creek Theater for info go to” A quick and cursory review of the literature reveals that the Celts were an ethno-linguistic group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Medieval Europe who spoke Celtic languages and had a similar culture and that the earliest archaeological culture that may justifiably be considered as Proto-Celtic is the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of central Europe from the last quarter of the second millennium BC. In short, the Celts, a half-civilized band of barbarians, didn’t even know there was a Christmas, let alone that they were supposed to celebrate it. Rather, the holiday they observed during the third week in December was called Alban Arthuan, an ancient Druidic fire festivals. Please speak to the powers that be and either remove the subject event from your calendar or at the very least describe it accurately. Signed, a Concerned Historian.” My response sent the same day. “Dear concerned historian. Shut the ____ up."

So the first guy stops the second guy on the street--and asks, “How Do you get to Carnegie Hall?” And the second guy says, “Practice.” That is, of course, unless your name is David Robinson, Derek Johnson, Lisa Fuglie, Mark Anderson or Matt Thompson. If you’re one of these five, then you’re a member of Monroe Crossing and you just call your manager, Art Blackburn, and ask him for the details, which are Monday, February 18, 7th Avenue between 57th and 56th Streets. These people work very, very hard and they deserve everything they get. CONGRATULATIONS MONROE CROSSING!Click here

Oh, I didn’t know you frowned on that sort of thing here--A famous line from Seinfeld. Wonder if Ana Gloria Gutierrez took her cue from George C. when she was arrested for riding a manatee in Florida and told police she was, ah, new to the area. Click here

Journalist experience, solid ability to network, strong sense of boom-chuck--There are only three things certain in life, right? Death…taxes…and the fact that there’s no money in bluegrass. None. Zero. Null. Nada. But not so fast…”IBMA is now accepting applications for a full-time, Nashville-based staff member. The new Publications Editor & Special Projects Director will edit and write publications and press releases, manage content and promotion of, manage professional development for IBMA members year round, and serve as a staff liaison with several committees.” Click here to read the entire announcement.

Nor-Cal, one of the planet’s bluegrass hot spots, and don’t you forget it--Jody Stecher has for a long time been just one more reason the Bay area bluegrass and old-time community should, from time to time, fall to its knees and thank the heavens above the incredible concentration of talent we enjoy here. Reports the Mandolin Café…”San Francisco, Calif. — Jody Stecher has announced the release of his first project, Wonders & Signs, devoted entirely to his own original compositions.” Click here for the full skinny.

Okay, take your best shot, then I’ll take mine--Hunter has terrifying experience with p_____-off deer. Click here.
Milestone…And they loaded up their truck...The Beverly Hillbillies brings Flatt and Scruggs to TV in 1962. Click here for their small screen version of Pearl Pearl Pearl.

It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas--That’s right, every year about this time we receive an invitation from Richard Brooks to come to Hoover Middle School in San Jose and join he and the Fiddlers’ Association for their annual holiday potluck. This Sunday, the 6th. Oh, and bring your axe. Click here

Don’t hold your breath--We’re not much for quotes here at the Mold, but, hey, inspiration is inspiration. From Pete Hicks…”I think it is marvelous that out species has learned to speak and write. It will be really marvelous when we figure out how to listen and read.

So, okay, we’ll bite. What’s in the jars? Rough and Ready is a tiny little hamlet about five miles west of Grass Valley, which is home to the CBA’s annual Fathers Day event. The heart of this Mother Lode community is its Grange Hall, where every Sunday, from ten till noon, you’ll find the Fruit Jar Pickers. The FJP’s have been holding their little get together for as long as anyone can remember…some claim it used to entertain the gold miners in the region, which seems a bit of a stretch. In any event, Rough and Ready and its Grange Hall is an excellent place to start off a day trip to the Gold Country. 530-272-4320, Donations accepted.

Finally, a new technology for the masses--Okay, picture this: You’re half-way through your second set, which, instinctively every member of the band knows, WITHOUT QUESTION, is the best you’ve ever played…anywhere, anytime. The joint is packed and everyone, including the paunch, middle-aged guy sitting by himself who came in for the purpose of getting de-boned drunk because his wife left him, is into the music like you’ve never witnessed. If they could, every soul in the audience right this moment, this instant, would tip the band ten bucks each if they could. Well, my musician friends, they can. It’s called Digital Tip Jar and it will blow your mind. Click here.

You can say that again, Steve--CBA member and banjoist Steve Kling publicly thanks Bill Evans on the Message Board…”I wanted to take a moment to thank Bill Evans for the absolutely exceptional night of banjo he crafted for those of us who could attend the Don Quixotes show last Sunday night. I am a banjo player and owe much of what "I am" on the instrument to Alan Munde and Bill Keith. I expected a moderately attended event last Sunday to see these legends, and boy was I surprised to see a packed house and incredible level of enthusiasm from the crowd. The show was exactly what a fan would want, hearing each legend playing some of their "hits" as well as new material, and I have to say that Bill's playing very strongly compared to his idol's work as well. Click here to read the rest of the post.

Slower than a one-legged dog on Xanax --Judge Rules Tobacco Companies Must Take Out Ads Saying They Lied About Dangers Of Smoking . In other words, Phillip Morris, et. al. will have to very, very, very publicly admit that they were lying about lying. (The companies had run ads saying the feds forced them to admit that smoking was harmful.) Oh, and along with the new ads they’ll have to run statements like “smoking kills more people than murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined, and that "secondhand smoke kills over 3,000 Americans a year.” And what does this have to do with one-legged dogs? The ruling adjudicated a case that was brought by the justice department in NINETEEN NINETY-NINE! Click here to be amazed and outraged.

Triumphant return from Georgia--Regina Bartlett’s got some advice for you so LISTEN UP From her Welcome column this month and it’s just in time to alert you to a must see act at the Sandy Cruz Mts. Fest this weekend…” Have you seen Hello Trouble? Some of the usual suspects are: Ella Naiman, Meghan Leslie, Curtis Leslie, Henry Warde, Tom Naiman, and sometimes Linus Tremaine. Well they all went back to Georgia and played with Larry Gillis at the SwampGrass Festival. Of course they stirred up trouble everywhere they went, cause you know how they are…so good, so fine, so there you have it. Just love those humble great ones!!”

Rest assured, they’ll cook up something tasty--A reminder that on Thursday, December 6, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen will perform at the Black Oak Casino at 8:00 pm in the Willow Lounge. Yes, this is up in Sonora and could be a little bit of a drive. On the other hand, Frank and the boys are riding a crest that, some say, will land them in the top tier of bluegrass acts before too long.Click here to visit the Black Oaks web site. Oh, and if you head up there, consider dining at the Seven Sisters on the upper level of the casino. Exceptional, mind-blowing food.

Milestone…The King steps outIn 1950 Jimmy Martin formed his first band and hired two brothers, a big guy on the banjo and a little guy on the mando.

Decent obit--Yesterday I reported on the death of banjo legend Walter Hensley. Since then, close friend and band mate James Reams has written a very thorough and moving obituary. Those interested in the history of our music will find it good reading.Click here

Eclecticist comes clean--William Bill Jirsa, CBA regular and bluegrass devotee, takes a moment on Facebook to make a confession…”You may know me as a Bluegrass guy, but I just booked tix to the Eagles (Revisited) (Jan), Janis Ian (Mar), and Don Williams (Apr), at the Tower Theater, Fresno. Call me Mr. Eclectic. And I'll see all my Bluegrass friends in January at the Rhonda Vincent Show in Bakersfield. Gonna be a great year, I think!” We’re with you, Bill.

You lyin’ sack a…--It probably won't take me or the fine folks at MIT’s state-of-the-art neuro-imaging center to convince you that there’s a whole lot of lying going on these days. It’s all around you, it’s non-stop and, unless you know what to look for, well, lying has the very real potential of making your life unlivable…or at least very unpleasant. Did you know, for example…

It's estimated that a typical organization loses 5 percent of annual revenue to fraud. This figure translates to a potential projected annual fraud loss of more than 3.5 trillion, according to a recent study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

One in four Americans believes it's OK to lie to an insurer.

One-third of all resumes contain false information.

One in five employees say they are aware of fraud in their workplace but won't report it.

Researchers have determined that in a given day we may be lied to anywhere from 10-200 times.

Click here if you’d like a few ideas on how to spot your wife, employee, child, grocery store clerk, accountant or the federal government lying to you.

In case you’re wondering, and why wouldn’t you, the MOLD staff makes no claim of authenticity in the daily common, and an even less than zero claim for items submitted by isolating of mountain men--Another note from the one who calls himself J.D…. Sir Moldy One; here's another good story that Ronnie Reno told me a few years ago. This good friend of his was playing drums for Jim Ed Brown. His name is Stacy, and he heard George Jones was looking to hire a new drummer, so he went and auditioned for the job with the band. That was in the middle of the week, and the bandleader said he really liked his play in and would get back to him on Monday. Stacey figured he had the job so on the way back home after playing a gig with Jim Ed on Sunday, he told Jim Ed that he could cram that drum playing job up his ass. So, on Monday Stacy called George's bandleader and ask him when he wanted him to come to work. The bandleader told Stacy that George had hired a different band drummer that weekend. Whereupon, Stacy called Jim Ed and asked him; Jim Ed, just how far up your ass did you cram my job? That got Jim Ed to laughing so he gave Stacy his job back. Now is that a funny story or what? JD PS I'm sure with your editing skills you can clean this up enough so you can print it.

Help wanted--Cindy’s Gray’s Americana Music Festival has started excepting band applications for it’s next cycle. Click here.

The Stan Tour--From Public Radio International…”The members of the band Della Mae come from all over the United States: Vermont, South Carolina, Colorado, Wyoming and Washington State. And they are steeped in the Appalachian bluegrass tradition. You can’t get much more American than that. Perhaps that’s why the US State Department selected Della Mae to be America’s cultural ambassadors to Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The band calls it their “‘Stan Tour.”Click here for the written story and the interview audio clip. Della Mae, you’ll recall, is the CBA’s emerging artist pick for the FDF 2013

Milestone…And in the beginning…Bill Monroe was born September 13, 1911, near Rosine, Kentucky. He was the youngest of 8 children.

It was a dark and blustery night…So, let me ask you a personal question. It’s all right, I won’t tell anybody. Honest, just between you and me. What got your vote for word of the year? What, you say you forgot to vote? You forfeited your civic right in this great democracy of our? Okay, I’ll lighten up, but please, don’t miss next year’s election. Oh, you wanna know what one? It was the undergod, BLUSTER, as in 1. to roar and be tumultuous, as wind; 2. to be loud, noisy, or swaggering; utter loud, empty menaces or protests: He blusters about revenge but does nothing. Click here for details.

FAT is where it’s AT, Jack--KCSS FAT SUNDAY from Turlock begins at 9 AM with Texas Red until Noon; Sundance, (or FAT automation) from Noon until 3; and Uncle John every other Sunday afternoon from 3-6 with old-time, bluegrass, classic country, western swing, etc. Tune in at 91.9 FM or Everyone will, of course, remember Uncle John Gwinner from his years and years of wonderful bluegrass and old-time Sunday broadcasts at Capitol Radio in Sacramento. A truly wonderful tradition until station management decided that 13,000 hours of jazz per week was just not enough and threw our uncle out of the engineering booth. Take a guess at how much money I’ve contributed during pledge drive since that decision.

So, why in the name of Santa Clause and al his elves would anybody adopt a blind kitten?--Simple, just Click here.

Hurry back, please--In a surprise announcement for most of David Parmley’s fans, he posted this note on his Facebook wall just a few days ago. “I would like to announce that I will be taking some time off from the music business to pursue other interests” You can’t name many lead singers in bluegrass music who logged as many years in the upper tier as David; we wish him well…Click to continue.

Rest in peace, Walter--Walter Hensley died yesterday. He played banjo for many great bands but was probably best known for the work he did with Earl Taylor and the Stoney Mountain Boys. Click here to learn more about Walter. There’s also some nice stuff of his on YouTube, including a classic version of Train Forty-Five.

Can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket--The Americana Music Festival folks will be accepting band applications now through January 15th for the July event in Virginia City. Click here

A word to the wise--It’s not like she’s going to yell at you, or humiliate you in public, or get you blacklisted at bluegrass venues. No, what Darby Branli does to ‘encourage’ people to review their CBA memberships is much more sublet that any of that…and much more frightening. Here’s an email the intelligence branch of the Mold Nest intercepted. “Howdy Darby, I just got off my butt renewed my membership. I couldn't take the guilt and pressure knowing that you were looking over my shoulder! :) Merry Christmas!” Believe me, you just don’t want to go there.

Nineteen days floating in water warm as a bath tub--Got a note from Paul Trenwith, a down under guy who’s band played at Grass Valley some years back…”Hello Mold, member me? Banjo picker from New Zealand? I'm part of a real bluegrass 'first' - a bluegrass music cruise in the South Pacific, from Sydney, Australia, around the east coast of NZ (stopping at various ports for sight-seeing), through Milford Sound, on to Hobart Tasmania and eventually to finish in Perth, Western Australia. This starts 19 February 2013, finishes 9 March 2013 - summer in the South Pacific. Best cruising weather. Featured on the cruise are a number of the best of Australasia's bluegrass bands, including my HCBB, and many others. I'm one of the hosts on the tour.” Click here if you, like me, you fancy the idea of floating around the South Pacific picking and singing.

Milestone…His mama, of course, had discovered him years before--In 1960 Doc Watson was "discovered" by Ralph Rinzler, which meant that it was officially okay to play fiddle songs on the guitbox.Click here fer a good un.

Something you’d expect to hear from a banjo player’s wife--Pretty funny and very perceptive I-Phone post on Facebook the day before Thanksgiving. “It's that time of year again when women inexplicably send their menfolk to the grocery store. Boy does that change the flow of things. All these men wandering around the store transfixed by many varieties of sweet potatoes. Calling their women in front of the confusing spice bottles. It's madness in here. No, the poster, Gail Miles Schwartz, is married to a guitar player, not a banjo player.

Come on now, Chris, you’re gonna hafta sweeten the offer, dude--The Punch Brothers are sweeping through Northern CA next week and if seeing and hearing what is arguably the most innovative act out there right now, Chris and the boys are traveling with an opening act….the Milk Carton Kids. They are, according the sales people…”a harmonizing, minimalist duo. Two guitars and two voices are used to create their unique combination of back porch Americana and classic folk. Relying on compelling narratives, a seamless interplay between their 1950s acoustics and well-constructed harmony lines, and their natural stage chemistry, TMCK have excited sold-out crowds across North America since their formation in early 2011” Okay, okay, we get the picture In truth, they could have gotten by with simply saying, the Brothers asked ‘em along.

Nov. 27: Laxson Auditorium, Chico
Nov. 29: Napa Valley Opera House; Napa
Nov. 30: Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz

So, wait a second, you can actually hawk stuff on the CBA Message Board? Of course--Linked to from the Message Board…”Achieve and Maintain Vintage Tone Now…A key to great tone is constantly playing-in your instrument. The ToneRite® is the world's most advanced and premier play-in device. Significantly accelerating the play-in process and providing increased tone, playability, and balance, the ToneRite® makes all of this available in a nearly silent, high quality, and portable manner.” So, I’ve got to ask. Do these things really work? Actually make a difference. Would like to hear from someone who actually owns one. Click here

Decked out in denim, with that poppy-and-axe patch on the back, collar turned up, man, you’re gonna have to beat ‘em away with a stick--A famous guy once said, ‘Knowing that you need help and two bits will get you a cup of coffee; asking for help, that’s when things start happening.’ Obviously the famous guy said this a long, long before the era of Starbucks, but the sentiment still seems pretty right on to me. Here’s what I posted on the Message Board yesterday…”I need help and I ain't ashamed to admit it, so here's the deal. Every time someone sends me a news item that I use I'll put their name into the hat. I'll pull a winner in June and that person will be awarded a very cool denim CBA jacket. Check it out at You get an additional chance at the jacket each time I use one of your items. Why wouldn't I use your item? Because I already had it. Because I didn't think it was good enough to use. Will I use your item verbatim? Probably not. What kind of news? Read my column and you'll know. Nothing else comes to mind. Pretty simple. Send me some news at and each time I use one of your items you have an additional crack at the drawing.” So that’s it. Drop me a line.

Milestone…and choreography suddenly becomes as important as tight harmony singing--In1994 Doyle Lawson brought back the single mic.

CBA TO ANNOUNCE INSTRUCTORS FOR 2013 MUSIC CAMP! Well, of course it will. So why is that big news, deserving of capital letters and an exclamation mark? Actually, it’s not. We’re just taking our queue from NASA. Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but for more than a week the Space Agency has been leaking stories of a “history-book-changing” discovery made by the Curiosity rover…but that’s all they’re saying. The MOLD nose smells a new ad firm on the scene. So, figured what’s good for the Mars folks is good enough for the bluegrass folks. Oh, click here to read what all the red planet hype isn’t about.

Cause music is good, too--Thanks to Maureen Roddy for alerting us to a music video project undertaken by country music great Pam Tillis and Mark Simos and his students at the Berklee School of Music. The song focuses on climate change, but don’t worry…if you ain’t buyin’ it you’ll still enjoy the music. Oh, almost forgot to mention Maureen’s daughter, Molly, sings and plays in the video. You may have heard of her.Click here

Hello, America, is anybody home? Headlines on just a single national news site yesterday: FRIDAY FEVER…Man Pulls Gun On Line-Cutter... Couple Hit By Suspected Drunk Driver In Store Parking Lot... Stabbing Threat Incident... Shoplifting Suspect Subdued With Taser... WATCH: Arrest Caught On Camera... Send Us Your Horror Stories...Store Hours... Best Bargains... Return Policies You Need To Know...LATEST UPDATES... FULL BLACK FRIDAY COVERAGE

Get in line, brother--The Moldman is not one for heaping praise on the Welcome column feature of this web site, it being one of my greatest competitors in the eternal struggle to grab and hold reader attention, but I did find Bill Evan’s column yesterday, Bluegrass Black Friday, pretty derned interesting. And here I didn’t even know old Bill was a contributor to the Welcome column. Click here if you didn’t catch his column. You may have to scroll down a bit.

Rest in peace--I’ve just read that Rosa Lee Watson has died. Doc’s wife, who was eighty-one, was fabled in her support to the legendary flat-pick guitarist. Click here to read Rosa Lee’s obituary.

Not as in talent, as in folding cash--Found in the Moldy Mail Bag…”If you caught the high energy show Poor Valley did at the Coffee Bandits in Merced, then you'll love us at Louie's Saloon on Dec 7! We call it Poor Valley Picks Again. Louie’s is LaGrange and has absolutely great food and a wild audience that dances and raises cane. Check it out at 6pm on the 7th. Marcos Alvira” Click here

You know that bird-worm thing they’re always sayin’? Well, it’s true--Just got word from Tim Edes down in Morgan Hill that early bird online tickets will go on sale December 1st for the big Lonesome River Band concert down there on February 23. Tim’s six year old Night at the Grange concert series has brought to the south bay some of the finest bluegrass talent in the country. Not bad for an electrician.

What’s in a name? A lot if you ask political science wonk and Dean of the School of Governmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Emil Fischbaum. Noting that our neighbors to the south are on the verge of constitutional name-change, from United Mexican States to the easier-to-remember, Mexico, Fischbaum argues that the U.S. should consider following suit. “Think about it…since its inception the United States has had enormously high and, essentially, self-imposed, expectations placed on its performance simply by virtue of the name selected by the Founding Fathers. Everything we do as a nation is evaluated scrutinized and dissected under the unrelenting microscope of that name.” Fischbaum, recipient of the Adelaide Stevenson Award for Social and Political Nomenclature in 1999, believes that a simpler name, one that does not “eternally conjure up” the not-always attainable ideal of UNITED, would make the nation less difficult to govern and less vulnerable to “criticism from every direction.” “Simply renaming the United State of America, I don’t know, say, ‘Steve”, says Fischbaum, "could put the nation on a track toward political reconciliation." I'm not sure I buy Fischbaum's solution to politics in our country but I'll tell you one thing for certain, before the end of the day I'm going to Google Adelaide Stevenson Award for Social and Political Nomenclature.

Milestone… And still goin’ strong --In 1966 Bluegrass Unlimited began publishing a monthly magazine dedicated solely to bluegrass music.Click here

Annoyed elf? We don’t know what all of the fuss was about, but when we came into work this morning we found a dozen or so emails from people worked up over yesterday’s mast head. Apparently the CBA’s two leaders, Darby Brandli, President, and Tim Edes, Chairman, did a little photo shoot to promote the idea of buying Music Camp registrations for Christmas gifts. Personally, I found the ad more or less effective…the two decked out in elves outfits was a nice change from the normally somber countenance of the pair. But some folks were clearly alarmed. “YIKES!” wrote one person, while another noted that President Brandli “looks like a nun from the famous "Red and Green" order. (Note how her hands are folded in prayer.)” If you missed the now infamous ad, Click here

Whopper, hold the onions--Update from Mark and Colleen Hogan on the March 10 Sebastopol Festival line-up: The Central Valley Boys; Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally; Chris Webster with Nina Gerber; James Reams and the Barnstormers; and Africa Entsha. Mark’s still in negotiations with one other band but, as things stand right now, he and his wife will be producing a whopper of a show.

Don’t look now but you got some déjà vu about to fall on you--Maria Nadauld, By-the-Bay Booking to Moldman: Exclusive “Ramblin’ Rooks. ¾ or 3/5 - I’m not sure which–-but some portion of the Lonesome River Band iteration that everyone calls “’91”, the LRB band that everyone says was the best ever - is hitting the road as the new trio of: Ramblin’ Rooks. Might even be Rambling (with the “g”) Rooks – not sure yet. Kenny Smith, Don Rigsby, and Ronnie Bowman. Watch for further news and tour dates.”

Who is Winston Marshall--I took my nephew to Santa Cruz Boardwalk three weeks ago…we hit one of those very unusual dreamy mid-eighties days on Monterey Bay. Rocky’s reason for wanting to go to the amusement park, really, his reason for being according to his mom, is to ride the roller coaster at the Boardwalk. THE BIG DIPPER! He’s soooooo close. Every other month or so Rocky cons one adult or another into taking him down to the walk and attempting to get past the attendant and aboard the rickety, ancient ride. And, so far, he’s failed each time. The bright-red arrow on the oversized measuring stick still remains just a few precious, damnable inches above the top of his Giants baseball cap. Soon, I told Rocky, soon my friend. Okay, so what’s the kid’s problem have to do with Winston Marshall? Well, Winston, or more precisely knowing WHO WINSTON IS happens to be the red arrow needed to demonstrate your youth…preferably in years, but acceptably in attitude. So, who is this dude? Click here.

And he was the ‘kid’ in the business--Lead art from BU this month: Larry Sparks Fiftieth Anniversary…Beyond the glow and allure of the night lights of Columbus, Larry Sparks illuminated the stage of a bluegrass festival on a hot and humid July night. He was dressed in Carolina blue from shoulders to shoes. Bluegrass dripped from his heart like a leaky faucet. He captivated with each dripping drop. He turned the knob ever so slightly from song to song, from “I Want To Thank You” to that night’s finale, “Tennessee 1949.” Click here to read the whole article. It’s a good one.

When Masha tells you something is important, you don’t ask why--Sunday afternoon, from 4pm-6pm, the banjo duo known as Old Soles will appear at the Volcano Union Inn and Pub in Volcano, which is a lovely little town in the central foothills. When Masha and Geff let the Moldman know of their date at the inn and pub, they made a point of insisting that I share this little tidbit…”It's the 60th anniversary of the opening of ‘The Mousetrap’ in London. Don't take that literally, it's the play by Agatha Christie. We won't tell you whodunit, but if it puts you in the mood for cheese, there are several dishes on the menu you'll love. no cover, all ages.”

Milestone…His first choice for a band name was Old Hickory--In 1938 Bill Monroe went to Atlanta, Georgia, to form the first edition of the Blue Grass Boys with singer/guitarist Cleo Davis, fiddler Art Wooten, and bassist Amos Garren. Imagine, we'd all be called Oldhickoryer's

Little blessings--The national holiday has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens", to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. Although common practice on this day is to consciously focus on and acknowledge to whoever will listen the major reasons we have to be thankful…family, good health, a country for which to be proud…it’s always sort of bothered me that the little blessings don’t get much attention. On this one hundred and forty-ninth officially celebrated Thanksgiving, I’d like to remedy that oversight as follows. I am thankful for spellchecking technology. I am thankful that our founding father, the first President of the United States, happened to have such an easy name to remember. I am thankful that milk gone bad has such a distinctive odor that, unless we’re really, really hung-over, we smell it before we drink it. I am thankful that David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, did not win the Republican Presidential primary in 1992. I am thankful that dogs are man’s best friend, and vica versa. I am thankful that I am not redheaded, NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I am thankful that someone, somewhere back in history, discovered that mint jelly goes indescribably good with lamb chops. I am thankful that the English language gives us so many different ways of saying the same thing. I am thankful that Kurt Vonnegut defied his father, who insisted that he become a lawyer, and spend his adult like writing fiction. I am thankful that Napoleon finally met his Waterloo, that Hannibal made it through the Alps and that Adolph Hitler turned out not to be the genius everyone thought he was in 1938. (Okay, I’ll admit this one isn’t a LITTLE blessing, but after nearly seventy years it’s an easy one to overlook.) And finally, I am thankful that the bluegrass people let me write my column each day; it keeps me off the streets. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Digestive aid--The inimitable Laura Lewis, who co-hosted this year’s IBMA awards show with the other inimitable guy, Del McCoury, will do a post-bird day show at the Freight and Salvage tomorrow night. It’ll be a good one.

Wanna know how to sell a guitar? Simple…Make sure it’s a Martin '67 D-18, get Derek See to play it and get the demo on video with exceptionally high production values. Or there’s always the flea market. But seriously, Gryphon Music in Palo Alto has for years used some clever and effective approaches for letting the picking world know what treasurers they have in stock and this YouTube clip is just one more of them. No pasrticularly interested in marketing? Then just Click here to see one very fine rich and buttery Martin.

Major eastern import--Just read that Banger Dan (Dan Mazer) will do a set at the Bluegrass Festival at Scopazzi’s Saturday afternoon between two and three. Dan spent quite a bit of his musical career, a full-time career, back in the DC area. I’d heard that he relocated to the West, but didn’t know where till now. Banger Dan is one utterly monster banjo player. If you’re anywhere within forty miles of the Sandy Cruz Mountains you owe it to yourself; this guy’s a heavy hitter.

Okay, but who’s gonna play the 320 members of his band--I don’t know about everybody else, but I’m getting’ a little impatient for the Bill Monroe biopic that’s been brewing for a couple years now. Last April BluegrassToday gave us the skinny on casing, to wit…Bill Monroe – Michael Shannon (Take Shelter, Vanilla Sky, Pearl Harbor); Bessie Lee Maudlin – Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy, House, Cowboys & Aliens); Lester Flatt – Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, The Incredible Hulk, Holes); Earl Scruggs – Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover, The Lorax); Charlie Monroe – John C. Reilly (Step Brothers, The Aviator, Gangs Of New York); Uncle Pen – Sam Shepherd (The Notebook, The Right Stuff, Black Hawk Down); Carolyn Monroe – Ashley Judd (Heat, Double Jeopardy, High Crimes). And all that’s good. But WHERE’S THE MEAT?Click here

Turning into a relic is not necessarily a bad thing--You know who Bill Knowlton is, right? The guy who’s hosted "Bluegrass Ramble" on WCNY back in New York since the end of the Ice Age? The guy who inexplicably dresses only in pajamas at the IBMA every year? Good. Okay, you know who I’m talking about. Well, here’s a pretty cool story about him, the National Archive, PBS and a new documentary that’s in the works. Click here

Messenger boy--When I took this news and stuff writing job I told them I worked along, as in loner, as in you do what you do and I’ll do what I’ll do. Once I got out from under the thumb of the Web Mistress, (drives him nuts when I call him that), and started working with Mark Peet, things have gone okay, as in they leave me along. Occasionally, though, I get a note asking me to include this or that in my column. Got two this morning….from Mark Varner: “Just in time for Thanksgiving, the December issue of your favorite periodical is available to all our members in electronic form. Please visit this site's Bluegrass Breakdown page and find the link. It's a big issue, back after taking off November. There's even a B Section this month and it's full of review and photographs. Please enjoy! Click here to link to the download page.” And from the Web Meister: “Thanksgiving Eve Day, yesterday, established a new record. 12846 hits in one day.” And do they give me any credit for that? Hell, no.

Milestone…So, really, what’s in a name?--Sometimes, plenty! Wednesday, January 12, 1927 the WSM’s Saturday night “barn dance” program took a new name, the Grand Ole Opry.

Advance warning for you brew lovers--Belle Monroe and Her Brewglass Boys at the Amnesia in San Francisco December 3. But, wait, while we’re on the subject, just what society first invented beer? Think you know? The Germans? Before them? Actually, pall, it was a trick question. Beer was not invented. It was discovered. And it happened a long, long time ago, when mankind was still hunting and gathering instead of farming and raising live stock. Fred and his lovely wife Wilma were out gathering some wild wheat and inadvertently left it out in the rain where it got wet, sat a long time, fermented and was eventually recovered and drank, to everyone's great surprise and satisfaction. And of course that led to all that making, distillation of booze, the creation of the first Martini, all of which were inventions following that one accidental discovery. Ain't life wonderful?

Save this for the next time you wake up in the morning feeling low down--Uploaded by AcousticBoxOffice—On November 11, 2000, the original members of John Hartford's Aereoplane Band gathered in Albany, NY, their 30th Anniversary Reunion Concert. In addition to John Hartford, Tut Taylor, Norman Blake and Vassar Clements their were special guests Sam Bush, Chris Sharp and Mike Compton. From the Reunion Concert here's the original theme song "Steam Powered Aereoplane"Click here

Red Joedog Cravenash-- So what could be better? A lovely drive to the country, a chance to get some Christmas shopping accomplished and a solid line up of fine acoustic music. Friday-Sunday, November 23-25 Sonora Christmas Faire at the Motherlode Fairgrounds, Sonora

Cremation would probably require some kind of EPA waiver--Found in the Moldy Mail Bag from the one who calls himself J.D.…”You're moldyness; I just remembered a conversation I had with my buddy Ronnie Reno on Thursday last. He said his good friend Larry Stephenson called him one morning last week about eight o'clock. Ronnie said you are sure up bright and early this morning, what are you up to? To which Larry replied, Ronnie I have been up all night sitting here beside the highway waiting for a tow truck to tow my bus back to Nashville. Seems as how Larry and his band were heading out on his bus for a gig and about 50 miles from Nashville a rod broke in the engine and blew the whole engine up. Turns out to be about a $30,000.00 cost for that gig without even picking one note. I asked Ronnie if they were going to hold a memorial service for the bus to which he replied, given the scarcity of gigs in this climate of business that we're going through right now that would probably be a good idea. He said Larry doesn't know if he's going to fix the bus or have a huge cremation ceremony for it, and go buy a Volkswagen bus to travel around in. I'll keep you posted on this as I hear more.”

What’s this, fan mail from some flounder? Hardly. It’s from the esteemed Chuck Poling and it tells of a wondrous place where variety is Queen and the village is named for oaks, the most sagacious of the deciduous trees. “It’s with very happy hearts that we embark upon this holiday season with music on our minds. We’re thrilled to be invited by those fabulous T-Sisters to perform a couple of songs in their zany and wonderful revue:

Fall Follies Variety Show
Friday, November 23
Doors 7:30/Show at 8 - All Ages
2935 Chapman St/Oakland
$5 – 10/cover

featuring the T-Sisters, Jeanie & Chuck Poling
Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman, and many, many more extraordinary acts.” < HREF="<"target=0>Click here.

When pigs fly--Have you noticed what’s happened with bacon? Of course you have, you couldn’t not have noticed. At first it was bacon chocolate, crazy, of course, but it somehow made a little sense. Even bacon and Martinis could be connected if you really, really squinted reality hard enough. But now we see bacon bikinis, bacon wigs and fake Hitler mustaches, bacon lamp shades and statues and hats and mittens and…oh My God help us…bacon lip balm. So is it any wonder that those whose minds are sufficiently untethered to imagine these new product lines wouldn’t find equally imaginative ways to increase production of the raw materials, (forgive the pun), needed for them? Huang Demin is not your typical pig farmer in the vast reaches of Hunan province. He’s stumbled upon a strategy for breeding more pigs faster, pigs that are healthier, tastier and, presumably pigs that produce bacon better able to protect our lips on the ski slopes. Please, you owe it to yourself, click here if only to enjoy the video.

I know, I was surprised too. This is something you’d expect to hear from a banjo players wife--Gail Miles Schwartz, wife of Bob, mother of Nate and Max, bass player the Oak Grove Bluegrass Band, posts to Facebook via her phone from the grocery store as Thanksgiving creeps closer and closer…”It's that time of year again when women inexplicably send their menfolk to the grocery store. Boy does that change the flow of things. All these men wandering around the store transfixed by many varieties of sweet potatoes. Calling their women in front of the confusing spice bottles. It's madness in here.”
Benchmark…So, really, what’s in a name?--Sometimes, plenty! Wednesday, January 12, 1927 the WSM’s Saturday night “barn dance” program took a new name, the Grand Ole Opry.

Well, Johnny, just be sure you bundle up before going outside--FOX News reports “Evidence indicates astronauts could survive on Mars”. Surviving is all well and good, but we’re guessing that a life on Mars would be no picnic. Since the planet has no atmosphere to speak of, it’s pelted with unimaginably high levels of radiation emanating from the sun and it never really gets warmer than sixty-five degrees F below zero. Oh, and there’s one other feature of the trip which will undoubtedly make expedition crew recruitment challenging…engineers say the only realistic approach to bringing off a manned trip to the red planet would be for it to be ONE WAY. You’d want to take along a lot of reading material. Click here

Not a single one in me--So I’ve got this list, but before I give it to you let me tell you how I got it…so embarrassing. It started with an email last week to the Mold Mail Bag. It was brief, to the point and stuck with me like a tasty bit of salami stuck between two incisors. “Dear Mold Man,” it read, “I like your writing. It’s quirky.” I’m not sure why, but I really, really, really liked the sound of that. Quirky. Kind of Holden Caulfield. So for nearly a week I’ve been trying to come up with a news item that would prove her right, (yes, it was a her, Mary from Piedmont), and you know what? Turns out I’m not quirky. I don’t have a single quirk in me. Pathetically, here’s the best I could come up with in the way of quirkiness. Embarrassing. sushi cologne, fat blocking Pepsi, bacon lip balm, Star Trek pez dispenser, bed bug trap and donkey milk cheese.

Accordions in Berkeley? Yes, indeed, at least one anyway…at the Ashkenaz December 4—“Three of the Bay Area’s top traditional musicians teamed up a few years ago to form the Midnite Ramblers, playing roots music steeped in Cajun and Creole traditions. They deliver irresistibly danceable Cajun classics. A year of intense musical experiences in Louisiana has made the Ramblers’ sound even more authentic to the Cajun tradition.”

Them crazy mountain people are at it again--Friday-Saturday November 30-December 1 Boulder Creek Old Bluegrass and Old Time Festival with The String Slingers, Prairie Flower and Cactus Bob, Rainy Escobar, Page Browntown and Sidetrack and many more. For info go to this event is at Scopazzi’s in Boulder Creek. 13300 Big Basin Way.

“You're bound to get idears if you go thinkin' about stuff”--John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath--Watched the second episode of Ken Burns new documentary on the Dust Bowl last night. Still picking sand out of my teeth. What a powerful, powerful piece of film-making. Night before last we were shown and told how the greatest man-made environmental disaster on the North American continent happened…the ‘great plow up’. You have to wonder if the young folks watching are making the connection between then and now. And you have to hope. Let us remind you that our own Joe Week was a collaborator on the documentary’s sound track, having composed some of the original music and, as a respected documentarian in his own right, he produced a video for the Association last spring that tells the story of our Fathers Day Festival. Click here to view Joe’s fine work.

Count yer blessings, pilgrim--There’s some much to be thankful for if you are a Follower of Bill…a FOB’er is what we call you down here at Mold Central. Let me give you a for instance…

Caffé Sportivo, Redwood City
Napa Jam
The Frog and Fiddlel Alameda
Morgan Hill Grange Hall
Bluegrass and old-time jam, SF
The Frog & Fiddle Jam
5th String Music Jam, Berkeley
5th String Music Jam, Sacto
Sonora Jam
Main Street Music Jam, Placerville
Dublin Heritage Center
Coffee Catz, Sebastopol
West Sacramento Jam
Sacramento area house jam
Smokin' Okies BBQ Joint, Pelasant Hill
United Methodist Church, Castro Valley
Sebastopol Christian Church
LaGrange Saloon and Grill, La Grange
Progressive Grounds Coffee Shop, SF
Carnegie Haul, Paso Robles

These are just some of the jams that will take place this weekend. Now,
click here, load the axe into the car and get out there!

Return engagement--Bob Cherry over at surprised us with this headline: Rhonda Vincent Welcomes Bluegrass Artist Josh Williams to The Rage. Josh was with Rhonda when she and her band played the Association’s bluegrass festival up in Sebastopol several years back and having been in the audience I can tell you that Rhonda and Josh together on stage is something to behold. And behold we will…Rage headlines the 2013 Fathers Day Festival, early bird tickets for which can be had by click here.

What they DON’T tell you--What YELP says about the Willowbrook Ale House in Petaluma is…

Delivery: No
Take-out: Yes
Waiter Service: No
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Music: Live, Juke Box
Best Nights: Thu, Sun, Sa
Attire: Casual
Good for Groups: Yes
Good for Kids: No

What YELP leaves out is that in August the Willowbrook was the first recipient of the CBA’s “Certified Bluegrass Friendly Venue Award”. (This is for real--you can see the plaque hanging in the bar.) The Willowbrook Ale House brings in some of the finest bluegrass acts in the region, perhaps best known, Ed Neff’s Blue and Lonesome. In fact, the band will do its unabashedly traditional bluegrass act tomorrow night at the WAH…that Tuesday the 20th. Oh, and if you see the owners Gary and Bob, give ‘em a nod on their new plaque and tell ‘em the Mold sent you.

Who, in the name of God, is Harry Styles and why has he been allowed to creep into my consciousness? A headline story on Sunday morning that was simply set in too large a font to be ignored…”Taylor Swift seen holding hands with Harry Styles”. If you click here I’ll reach through your screen and slap your hand.

Inside-out and absolutely amazing--Thanks to Chris Stuart for sharing this video…James Taylor doing a finger picking lesson, with a camera mounted INSIDE his axe. Worth a look. Click here

The guy’s got a way with words-- Quote from THE BOSTON GLOBE in regards to a Gibson Brothers show Saturday night at the Finch Coffeehouse in Newburyport, MA? "The Gibson Brothers have been upholding the legacy of brother acts in bluegrass for a couple of decades now, marrying their classic hand-in-glove high lonesome harmonies to a musical combination that finds room for both traditionalism and fearless forays beyond it." Stuart Munro

Is anybody checking this stuff besides me? Don’t know how many other people wondered about the so-called “DAILY GRIST” that accompanied Geoff Sargent’s Welcome column yesterday.…’The first Thanksgiving feast took place in up-state New York in 1621. It lasted three days, and was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. It would be another two hundred and fifty years before family arguments around the dinner table over politics and religion would become fashionable.’—Edwin Mauler, noted American historian” The quote sounded a little, shall we say, disingenuous, so I wrote Geoff a note and asked him where he found it. “Oh,” he said, “we columnists don’t post the Grist; that’s done each day by the web master.” Hmm, now why wasn’t I surprised to hear that? Of course when I searched the name Edwin Mauler I found no ‘noted historian’…and certainly no Thanksgiving quote. So you have to ask yourself, don’t you, why does this guy, this web master guy, continually make stuff up? Is it a compulsion? Between these ‘grist’ things and Julia Child playing the mandolin I just have to wonder if we might not have one of those less-than-full-deck situations. Not that it’s any of my business.

All jacked up--Trying to give the kiddies a little extra boost and the sugar in their Cracker Jacks just isn’t doing the trick? Have we got a deal for you. The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reported that Frito-Lay, the manufacturer of Cracker Jacks, will soon introduce a new version of its snack called Cracker Jack’d – which will have added caffeine. Now come on, CSPI, back off, would you? Parents know what’s best for their children. Right? Click here

You think the spend a few bucks on their entertainment budge maybe? Merelfest has announced its 2013 lineup and it’s a doozy. Click here

Now, here’s an idea--Martin and Company has been very, very, very good to the CBA over the years so we’ll pass along a little suggestion made by the folks back in PA. Click here.

All I need’s a job with honest pay, All I need’s a job with honest pay, Gotta git me a job with honest pay, And I ain’t a’ gonna be treated this away--Washington Post film critic Ned Martel likes Ken Burn’s latest effort, ‘The Dust Bowl’. “As ever, the screen scans historic images — strong, clear, artful ones. Photographer Dorothea Lange trains her lens on wind-whipped faces. Burns knows by now how to pull emotion out of first-person documents and underscores the testimony with piano chords and violin whines. Woody Guthrie finds his voice. And one of many older survivors recalls her mama’s hymn that hoped for “higher ground.” Of course Martel doesn’t mention in the review that one of the fellas making that violin whine is Joe Weed, Santa Cruz musician, composer and documentarian in his own right. We’re excited to see the new Burns epic but, really, just as excited to hear the original material composed for it by our pal Joe. Dust Bowl airs tonight. Check your local listings, tune in and listen to local boy makes good…again. Click here for the complete Post review.

Hail to the Chief – of bluegrass! --We’re not sure of exactly what this means but that shouldn’t stop you from wondering. Click here

Go Giants. I know, but better late than never--Got a semi nasty note in the Mold Mail Bag a couple days ago. Why, the writer wanted to know, did I think it was okay to write a daily news column and not mention the biggest news in Northern California in the last two years? Of course he was referring to the Giants winning the National Championship and of course I didn’t mention it because I’m not a big baseball fan and I’m not going to lie about that, championship or no championship. But that said, he did have a point. So, well, go Giants. And to prove my sincerity, here’s the best damned baseball song of all time…not bluegrass but mighty fine just the same.
Larry Hosford’s "Home Run Willie" Click here

Pandora’s Box--Ken Irwin, co-founder of Rounder Records, is sharing this with friends. We don’t usually run a piece this long here at the Mold, but we were impressed by the diversity of the signatory listing. ”A Musicians' Perspective on Pandora. We are big fans of Pandora. That's why we helped give the company a discount on rates for the past decade. Pandora is now enjoying phenomenal success as a Wall Street company. Skyrocketing growth in revenues and users. We celebrate that. At the same time, the music community is just now beginning to gain its footing in the new digital world. Pandora's principal asset is the music. Why is the company asking Congress once again to step in and gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon? That's not fair, and that's not how partners work together. Congress has many pressing issues to consider, but this is not one of them. Let's work this out as partners and continue to bring fans the great musical experience they rightly expect. Signed, Bryan Adams, Alabama, Greg Allman, Steve Angello, Rodney Atkins, Sara Bareilles, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Clint Black, Jack Blades, Blondie, Jonatha Brooke, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Oteil Burbridge, The Cab, Colbie Caillat, Camper Van Beethoven, CoCo Carmel, George Clinton, Keyshia Cole, Common, Easton Corbin, Cowboy Mouth, Cracker, Randy Crawford, Robert Cray, David Crosby, Joel Crouse, Sheryl Crow, Drew Davis, Taylor Dayne, Dead Kennedys, Raheem DeVaughn, The Doors, Down, The Dream, Vikter Duplaix, Missy Elliott, Lupe Fiasco, The 5th Dimension, Flyleaf, John Fogerty, Guy Forsyth, The Game, Vince Gill, David Gilmour, Genevieve Goings, Martha Reeves, Rihanna, Eric Roberson, Darius Rucker, Rush, Bobby Rush, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, Skid Row, Michael W. Smith, Britney Spears, Dave Stewart, Survivor, T.I., Susan Tedeschi, Robin Thicke, George Thorogood, Toto, Butch Trucks, Derek Trucks, Josh Turner, Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio (The 4 Seasons), Dionne Warwick, Roger Waters, Bobby Whitlock, Whodini, Chuck Wicks, Otis Williams (The Temptations), Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), BrianWilson, BeBeWinans, Zac Brown Band, Andy Grammer, Amy Grant, CeeLo Green, Gyptian, Warren Haynes, Don Henley, Hootie and The Blowfish, Mallary Hope, Bruce Hornsby, Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), The J.Geils Band, Jaimoe, The Jazz Crusaders, Billy Joel, John Paul Jones, Mick Jones (Foreigner), Journey, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds), KISS, Jana Kramer, Ludacris, Maroon 5, Nick Mason, Duff McKagan, Megadeth, Janelle Monae, Alissa Moreno, Jason Mraz, Nas, Graham Nash, Ne-Yo, Stevie Nicks, Night Ranger, Ted Nugent, Owl City, Christina Perri, Katy Perry, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, John Pointer, The Pointer Sisters, Primus, Marc Quinones, Joel Rafael, Trisha Yearwood, Bonnie Raitt.

Too much of a good thing? An interesting note from a MOLD fan: “Dear Mold Man, I read your column everyday and enjoy it very much. It’s informative and interesting and even funny sometimes. But, if you’ll please allow a little criticism, well, I think maybe you might be overdoing it just a bit. In two ways. First, you say it’s the MORE OR LESS Daily News but, unless I’m mistaken, it’s been DAILY. You haven’t missed a single day since the column started. And second, you present way, way more stuff than we working stiffs can get through during our morning coffee. You know what they say, a little is sometimes better than a lot. Please don’t take this the wrong way, Mold, I truly do like reading your stuff, just not so much every day. Gratefully yours, Inundated.” Dear Inundated, let me mull this over, please.

A taste of history you can nibble on for decades to come--Got a note from genius photographer Mike Melnyk the other day that led us to the following information about as new Arhoolie offering: 4 CDs with a 192 page, full color, hardcover book; over 4 hours and 58 minutes of music; 70 songs; over 175 color photographs by Mike Melnyk; Commentary by Chris Strachwitz and band members. On February 4, 5, and 6, 2011 there was a benefit for the Arhoolie Foundation celebrating the 50th anniversary of Arhoolie Records. Three joyous days of concerts and panel discussions were held in Berkeley, California at the Freight and Salvage to honor Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie’s 50 years of documenting and preserving traditional music. The concerts were hosted by American Routes radio host Nick Spitzer. The events were recorded by Fantasy Studios and the Bay Area’s premier concert photographer Mike Melnyk captured the performances and backstage activities. This limited edition book and CD set is filled with passionate music, stunning full color photos and remembrances. Chris Strachwitz writes about each band. Click here

I just do as I'm told around here at the Tower--I found a note from the web master dude when I came into work this morning directing, (no, he didn't ask), that I announce in the MOLD that "hits" on have reached or exceeded 7,000 per day for the last six out of seven days. Apparently this is good news..but do you think they'd give me even a little credit?

If ever the Association did God’s work…Hi everybody. Bruce-the-Librarian here. I'm looking for someone to step up and take over my duties as the Librarian for The Darrel Johnston Kids Instrument Lending Library. I've been at this job for about four years now. Boy does the time fly! This is a year round volunteer position. Which means there are a lot of "perks!" Heck, just seeing the kids with instruments is a real blast. Contact me at: for any question one might have. Bruce Long, DJKLL/Librarian.

This has gotta be a good sign--The last time Zeke Griffin was mentioned at it was in connection with his just-diagnosed cancer. He assured his friend via Facebook that he was okay, hangin’ in and would pull through. That was some months ago and he was just starting some treatment. Well, he popped up on Facebook again the other day, this time in a cool video of he and his band, Strange on the Range, doing a benefit show in Reno. Looked good and sounded even better. High five, Zeke! Click here

Who says California doesn’t deserve it’s long-held reputation for being just a few degrees off center --Warning: If you’re dismayed by, or simply indifferent to, bugs, skip to the next item. Northern California scientists have long been baffled by the rare 750-legged millipede, Illacme Plenipes. Click to continue. The Plenipes do get even more odd.

So, so fast when you’re having fun--Just read where Lou Reid and Carolina are celebrating their 20th anniversary. My or my how time flies. I remember reading that this new band was coming out with a debut CD. Congrats, boys.Click here

Early Bird Special…and we don’t mean festival tickets--Early Bird as in the night before Turkey Day you all living in the Bay Area have a couple of options to prepare for the big feast with a little bluegrass. Sidesaddle & Co. will be at Sam's BBQ on Wednesday the 21 and the Whiskey Brothers will be picking and singing that same night up at the Albatross Pub in Berkeley.

Say good bye, Twinkie. Okay, goodbye Twinkie--With all of the news oozing out of every electronic contrivance sent down to mankind by the Technology Gods, it can be eye-opening, (and usually disheartening, to just sit back every once in a while and see what’s garnering the biggest coverage. For an example, I was visiting yesterday day and found not one but six separate stories about the sudden, and for most of us, I think, surprising, demise of the Twinkie: Hostess Brands closing | 18,000 jobs; Workers react | Potential buyers; Ebay goes crazy for Twinkie stuff; Ode to the Twinkie Ode to the Twinkie | Hoard them!; Twinkie fan's plea | Share your recipes; 11 brands that vanished HLN. Six different takes on the confestions disaster, while missiles tragically lit up the skies over Israel and Palestine.

Hey. HEY! You there…the guy holding the fiddle case, or mandolin case, or whatever it is--“Dave (Guitar) in Berkeley, and Ken (Bass) in Alameda are looking for other Blue Grass Players (Banjo, Fiddle, Mandolin, Dobro, etc.) to practice with us, and maybe play an occasional Gig.” Many a life long friendship has begun with a simple note like this. Write Ken at

Please, please, please don’t do this--California teen looking for cell service steps into snake pit, bit 6 times. What kind of snakes, you ask? Were they deadly you wondering. Doesn’t matter. JUST DON’T DO IT!
Click here

They just might have what’s ailin’ ya--In our constant quest for raw meat to keep the insatiable newshounds at bay we’ve recently discovered Prescription Bluegrass. They do a good job and are worth a bookmark in our humble opinion. Click here to visit the site.

Southern delicacies highlighted whenever possible--Some Mold readers, the more perceptive one anyways, may have already noticed that our team of investigative reporters keeps its collective eye out for any news related to fine Southern cuisine, particularly of the kind of dishes that can be shot from trees or huddled in burrows. Why, because of the long tradition of wild game hunting and gathering in bluegrass and old time music. So there was really little question we’d run with this story, sad as it may be. Click here

In the low eighties and dry--So says, Ted Lehman, bluegrass writer and CBA Welcome columnist in a piece recently published about next years gig in Raleigh…”IBMA's World of Bluegrass, as most of you know by now, will be held in Raleigh, NC from September 24 - 28, 2013. The events will center on the Convention Center complex, which includes the Raleigh Convention Center, two key hotels (The Sheraton & the Marriot) and the Red Hat Amphitheater, a 5,990 seat outdoor performance area located directly behind the Convention Center. The Amphitheater is designed to accommodate large events in comfort. Some considerable criticism of recent Fan Fests has rested on the grounds that bluegrass music works best in an outdoor, festive environment. Boasting flexible seating, a huge stage, and easy accessibility, the Red Hat Amphitheater offers unparallelled opportunities for Fan Fest to schedule the best in bluegrass while attracting a large audience to support the Bluegrass Trust Fund and IBMA's efforts to promote bluegrass around the world. September weather in Raleigh features an average high of 81 and an average low of a comfortable 61 degrees. Precipitation may be expected on 8.0 days in September, the second driest month with October being the driest. The convenience of the Convention Center across the street from the Red Hat Amphitheater makes this a highly promising location for a shortened, but extremely attractive outdoor event.”Click here the rest of the piece as well as photos.

Bluegrass in paradise--It was with a heavy, heavy heart that I read the email pasted below in the Moldman hot mail account this morning: “Would you please add Bluegrass Hawaii to your list of links? We are a pretty small non-profit organization, but we have quite a lot of activity to which visitors from your region are always welcome including two festivals/camps each year. See the attached flyer that was made to distribute to people on a nearby military installation so they might know of the opportunity to play with us. We currently have around one hundred dues paying members and another four hundred people receive our e-mail notices but can't seem to come up with the ten bucks for membership. Hard times. At the camps we hold in the spring we'll attract over 130 campers and nearly 400 will be present during the day. The autumn camps are less well attended with numbers more like 90/200. Mike Spengel” Why a heavy heart, you ask? Because it’s 42 degrees as I type these words and steam comes out of my mouth when I breathe out. Mike probably an okay guy, and Bluegrass Hawaii is no doubt a good group of folks, but that in no way makes them immune from my jealous rage.

This could explain EVERYTHING-- I mean, come on, folks, just look around you. Noticed anything a little unusual? Like having to explain a lot more things to a lot more people a lot more thoroughly? Like reading more and more news stories about polling that shows a greater and greater belief in things that simply cannot be true? Bumped into greater numbers of folks that seem genuinely confused…about most everything? Well, guess what: Human Intelligence Declining, Controversial New Study Suggests…Click here

This guy will knock you down with his voice-- Note from Don: Please join us for our musical doins this Sunday, November 18, 2012 - It's a 7:30 PM downbeat ARMANDO'S Music Emporium, Martinez CA DON BURNHAM & THE BOLOS.

Easy to get lost--That’s the cut we moldy ones are recommending you give a listen to from Monroe Crossing’s soon-to-be-released new project, The Road Has No End. This band has a big fan base out here in the wild west and we’re guessing it’ll get even bigger once this CD hits the ground. Click here

End of the road for New Found Road--Not sure how many people will remember this, but NFR played at Grass Valley just about a decade ago as that year’s Emerging Artist, and what a career they’ve had since then. There were plenty of personnel changes during that time, and what started as a gospel band eventually evolved into a secular one, but through it all Tim Shelton held the group together and made some truly wonderful music. The boys have some outstanding commitments through part of 2013, but then it’s adios. Another chapter ends…thanks fellas. Click here

Not all family traditions just sort of happen--Sometimes you can make them, and that’s just what Carl and Leslie Abbott did. With two young home-schooled sons, the parents decided home-made music would be a nice addition to the kids’ curriculum…of course they didn’t know at the time that their decision, more or less an academic one in the beginning, would send the family on a deeply textured musical adventure for the next decade and a half. Luke, the oldest of the sons, tells the tale…click here to read it.

Never had so much fun--I remember volunteering some years back to take a shift each day monitoring a discussion board for a little community project web site. It’s not like I had to sit there and watch every minute of every second of every hour; I just had to make sure that if a discussion took a wrong turn, I needed to let the web master know. No big deal, right? Wrong, at least for me. I tendered my resignation a little less than a week. I found the job nerve wracking, not so much because there were a lot of crazies posting, but because I really cared about the project and the community behind it and I was nervous that a thread would blow up on my watch and somehow bring the web site down…permanently. You’d be surprised how many times this actually happens with sites. In fact, I heard it almost happened once with the CBA site. So, here’s what I think—be thankful you’ve got people who care enough to watch over your message board.Click here

You’d be in despair, too, if you were drinking what they’re drinking--Do you remember “Gloom despair and agony on me?” No? Click anyway.

New voice in the Lode--At least new to us. Sammy Leverone is one fine singer and we’re seeing her book more and more dates up in the hills. For example, December 7 she’ll be at the Frogstooth Winery in Murpheys, a 2-5 afternoon gig with some good wine a-flownin’. (I know, you were pretty sure that frogs don’t have teeth…but then you were pretty certain that chickens don’t have lips, right? In any event, click here if you’d like to get a little taste of Sammy’s singing. Can’t beat Hoyt Axton now can ya?

Police blotter, Strongville, Ohio, first week of November…really--ANIMAL COMPLAINT, DRAKE ROAD: Residents called police because they were trapped in their home by a temperamental squirrel. The squirrel was desperate to get in the house, according to the residents. The squirrel kept jumping at the garage door and would run at the residents any time they opened a door.

ANIMAL COMPLAINT, SOUTHPARK CENTER: Several motorists called police on Sunday because a large turtle was blocking the entrance to the Westfield-SouthPark Shopping Center. The turtle was taking a long time to cross the Howe Road entrance to the mall. The motorists were afraid the turtle would get hit by a car.

ANIMAL COMPLAINT, CHANDLER GREEN: A man reported Sunday that he was bit by a dog while walking in his neighborhood. The man said he was bitten in the hip by a German shepherd-Labrador retriever mix, who was being walked by children.

MISCHIEF, COOK AVENUE: Someone plastered eggs and toilet paper all over Zellers Elementary School on Sunday night.

MISCHIEF, WEST 130th STREET: Motorists called police Saturday because a group of juveniles were jumping into traffic. One of the boys was wearing a bear costume, according to the callers. The group was gone when police arrived.

DISTURBANCE, PEARL ROAD: Two Cleveland men and a Cleveland woman were advised Saturday for trying to load items from a dumpster behind the Honey Hut into their vehicle. The group was confronted by police after several calls reported hearing screaming coming from the area. Officers found the group arguing over the best way to stuff a large freezer unit into their vehicle. Officers made the trio put all the items back that they were trying to take.

From the Moldy Mailbag--“Hello Bluegrass friends, here’s a chance to listen to Compass Records recording artists Special Consensus live from the World Famous Station Inn in Nashville. Tune in to WSM Online Thursday November 15, 2012 from 6 to 7 p.m. Central Time. Thanks, Maria from By the Bay Bookings.” The staff here at CBA Towers is following news of SC pretty closely since they’ll be one of our headliners in June. We invite you to listen to what you’ll be seeing. Click here

Bring your axe…PLEASE--I think we’ve mentioned this already, but we’ll do it again in case 1) you’ve forgotten or 2) you need that little extra touch of encouragement. Invariably we have a small number of closet pickers who attend CBA events and don’t even bother to bring their banjo or guitar or whatever because, heck, they’re only beginners and they’re not used to playing with other people. Well, this year at the GREAT 48, the organizers are doing something about that, at least for the git-box folks. Bill Jirsa, a solid CBA member who knows his way around jamming, will do as beginners’ guitar workshop. So, what’s covered in a session like that? Click here to find out. And then PACK THAT GUITAR FOR BAKERSFIELD!

Print media melancholy--Sorry to hear that the good folks at Bluegrass Music Profiles will shut down their publication. Kevin and Lori Kerfoot put their heart and soul into the publication and the result was a top-notch magazine that kept bluegrassers informed across the country. Let’s hope they decide to keep the effort going with a web-based version. Click here to pick up back issues before they’re gone.

Dirty Kitchen blowing into town--From Bob Schwartz: We'll be hosting Frank and Dirty Kitchen at our home in Walnut Creek on Sunday evening December 9. Should be a great evening, these guys were up for IBMA Emerging Artist this year . . . We've still got some room left, if you'd like to come drop me an email or call my cell, 415-999-3136. $20 per person requested donation, all proceeds go to the band . . .Bob Schwartz,, 415-999-3136

Reminder from Uncle Bill--But seriously, these are three of the all time greats, right here in our backyard…so to speak. Click here

Where in the heck is Newman? Well, we urge you to find out by Friday night, cause that’s ween Red Dog Ash at there at the Westside Theater. It’s a CD Release party and admission is only ten bucks. Click here

Hey, keep that criticism coming. I don’t promise I’ll listen to it, but keep it coming--I recently received a note in the old Mold Mail Bag from a reader who noticed that some of my items are actually stories repeated from the rotating ‘news items’ at the top of the page, you know, the five items that run each day. “It’s like, I see something one day up at the top of the page and a few days later your writing about it. What’s going on? Why the re-cycling, dude?” You can call it recycling, dude, I’m going to call it writing about what I find interesting or important. Cornish and Peet do their thing with the five rotating items each morning, I do mine. We don’t try to coordinate…probably wouldn’t work if we did try. Here’s a pretty simple solution—when you see something you don’t like, or that you’ve already read about, or that you just don’t give a damn about, DON’T READ IT.

Violins for vets--Don’t know if you know him, but Allan French is a very cool dude. You’ve seen him around if you go to bluegrass events. He’s one of these guys who’s just always on the prowl to find a way to help make things better. Does a column in the Bluegrass Breakdown. Helps with the web site. Works security at Grass Valley. And he’s also the kind of guy who keeps his ear to the ground. Leave it to Allan to run across a feel good story that’s actually worth feeling good about. He posted this one on the Message Board. Click here

So, you got a song inside of you just screaming to get out--A lot of folks do, we’re told, but just don’t how to get it out. For many, it’s just a matter of not having the tools. In recognition of the fact that we’ve got a lot of potential song writers out there in our bluegrass community, GREAT 48 organizers conducted a little experiment last year—they got Randy Morton, lead singer, guitar player and original material machine for the band Pineridge, to do a song writing workshop. People loved it and Randy’s set to do another this year at Bakersfield. Early afternoon, Saturday, be there.

You don’t need to have a family OR play the fiddle--We’ve been reminded of the Julian Family Fiddle Camp coming up in April…and of what makes it a good one…

Stellar instruction for all ages and levels
Special topic seminars &/or tutorials
General and master classes in fiddle, mandolin, guitar and old-time banjo
Great evening concerts
Delicious food
A beautiful location
Activities for the entire family
Nearby tourist attractions
Varied accommodations

Click here

Lovely Rita, nothing can come between us.
When it gets dark I tow your heart away
-- Rita Hosking and Cousin Jack plus The Railflowers will be at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company tonight. Show ticket for twenty bucks, and throw in an additional twelve for a buffet dinner. Can’t beat that with a stick!

Now here’s a good idea--A note from long-time CBA member Yvonne Tatar….Hi All, a great new EPK is up and running on the Foundation for Bluegrass Music's website at I am proud to have helped with this project and also proud to have Molly Tuttle included in it, along with the Tuttles, and AJ Lee, and a host of other notable musicians. Please take moment to view and learn more about the Foundation's important work. Consider a donation and enjoy the video!

Chances don’t come up like this everyday…either you grab for the brass ring or you continue to go ‘round and ‘round endlessly--Unpaid intern position available--Huge, real-life experience guaranteed. Imagine being able to put on your resume, ‘Played key role on Moldman Team’. And the cherry on top—we’d never have to meet face to face. Reach me at

The man with the mighty axe--Just got word today from the organizers of the GREAT 48 Jam in Bakersfield that they’ve booked a monster picker for this year’s guitar workshop. Joe Ash, who I’ve always thought of as the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the guit-box, (and believe me, I mean that in a positive way), will be leading the session scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Joe doesn’t just play guitar well…he knows and understands guitar, and more importantly for us, he knows how it is to be used in the genre called bluegrass.

So, you actually CAN believe some press releases--Got this emailed to the MM but, truth is, he’d already heard Bill’s latest and needed no promoting. Very good stuff indeed. “Bill Evans' latest CD "In Good Company," featuring 26 guest musicians including The Infamous Stringdusters, Tim O'Brien, David Grier, Rob Ickes, Stuart Duncan and many others, is currently the #1 CD on the Cash Box / Roots Music Report Bluegrass Charts (two weeks running). Earlier this year, Bill's CD topped the Folk DJ-List charts, making it one of the few bluegrass-oriented releases to top both folk and bluegrass charts this year.”

Sorry, we don’t have no stinikin’ corner on the market when it comes to murder--I know, one of the unique qualities about our bluegrass genre is the number of murders that take place. Let’s be honest, we feel just a little bit of dark pride in the killing catalogue that is old-time and bluegrass. But now there’s word from Scandinavia that we may not hold the record after all. Squeezebox Brutality: Murder Ballads From Finland has just been released and it just might be the stocking stuffer you’ve been looking for. Oh, and you think our old-timey ballads were long…ah, think again. Says Kimmo Pohjonen, the guy squeezing the squeeze on the new release, “"Our national epic, 'Kalevala,' is something like 23,000 verses or even more. In old days, people were singing for days and days. That's why the stories used to be really long."Click here

For that guy or gal who’s got everything--So you say you’ve got a significant other who 1) plays the mandolin and 2) has everything, which is to say, is impossible to by a Christmas present for. Hold on. She/he doesn’t have EVERYTHING. I’ll bet you he/she doesn’t have an Adam Steffey. Click here

God love this democracy of ours--So, Bill G. posts innocently enough on the Message Board…” I've played blues/rock bass for 10 years and would like to start playing Bluegrass. Most Blu'grs bassists use acoustic. Must I spend lots of time and money to learn the acoustic or can I manage to jam and maybe join a band with my electric. Thanks for any comments.” I submit to you, oh valued readers, that the thread which develops exemplifies better than most discussion ever held on the MB just how utterly diverse our little community is. Click here

No, friends, not just lint--The headline read, “Belly Button Bacteria: Biologists Seek Reason For Navel Flora Differences”. If in the three-plus weeks that we’ve been doing this column you’ve learned anything about the Moldman it’s that there’s no way in heck that this story wouldn’t make into the More or Less Daily. There’s certainly nothing even approaching grossness contained in this story. That said, it IS from Scientific American and we acknowledge that such attribution could be off-putting to some. So, click here at your own descreition.

We have met the enemy and he is us.--The other day I found myself skimming over the Message Board posts, (I find this more edifying than playing solitaire), and stumbled upon a reference to Pogo. After sitting back and enjoying the flood of memories released by the sheer mention of the little guy’s name I was suddenly struck by the awful thought that some folks out there may not have even ever heard the name. So, here goes…Pogo is the title and central character of a long-running daily American comic strip, created by cartoonist Walt Kelly (1913–1973) and distributed by the Post-Hall Syndicate. Set in the Okefenokee Swamp of the southeastern United States, the strip often engages in social and political satire through the adventures of its anthropomorphic funny animal characters. Pogo combined both sophisticated wit and slapstick physical comedy in a heady mix of allegory, Irish poetry, literary whimsy, puns and wordplay, lushly detailed artwork and broad burlesque humor. The same series of strips can be enjoyed on different levels by both young children and savvy adults. The strip earned Kelly a Reuben Award in 1951.Click here for more.

Emerging or exploding? You be the judge--Each year the contingent of CBA’ers who head back to the IBMA to work in the Association’s hospitality suite are rewarded with a special perk; at the end of the week they get to take part in selecting the Emerging Artist that will be featured at the FDF the following June. This year the volunteer team selected Della Mae. Seen ‘em? Want to? Click here

***As Homer Simpson would say, “Aggggggggggg”-- November 13 you can head to Campbell and here Carolina Special. Our recommendation is to get to Sam's very early, say 4:30 or 5:00, order a plate of ribs, drink a couple glasses of wine, listen to the band and then, by nine or so you’ll be ready for more ribs. Extreme, you say? Obviously you haven’t had Sam’s ribs!

A picture is worth a thousand words. A good picture…composition, lighting, etc…maybe five thousand--And for that reason organizers of the GREAT 48 Hour Jam have announced they’ll be adding a new workshop this year…BLUEGRASS PHOTOGRAPHY. Like wildlife photography but where the subjects are more human that than animal like. Randy Shelton, one of the Association’s three Official Photogs, will be the presenter and he’s quite good. Some may remember way back when at Grass Valley when our beloved Tom Tworek did snap workshops…talk about one of the best.

”So, ah, like what’s this BLUEGRASS L thing all about? You know, the listserv where bluegrass go and exchange information and rant at one another? Signed, Don’t-Care-Enough-to-Find-Out-for-Myself.” Another email sent to the Moldman…and yes, I do take questions. Hello, Don’t-Care. Let me share a typical BG L thread. “My recollection is that Lester and Earl appeared on one episode performing "My Little Girl In Tennessee" as a duo (and somewhat less reliably that it was in the key of D, with Earl singing tenor). I'm curious to know if that's correct, and, if so, what the episode title is and if it's ever been commercially released. Thank you. Jon Weisberger Cottontown, TN…You are correct, I remember it exactly that way, but don't know what episode it was. John Mackin… It's from the episode "Flatt, Clampett and Scruggs", season 3, episode 25 (original air date: March 31, 1965). It is available commercially (Amazon link: it is on YouTube (F&S start around 11:00 minutes in).

Hey, a little help over here! A note from Chris Stuart: I'm writing a Blue Yodel piece called "Bluegrass Dictionary" and am asking for slang words or phrases having to do with bluegrass, such as "mash it" or "shared the stage with..." I doesn't have to be unique to bluegrass, but that a word?

Synapses on his synapses--We’re betting most people who read the MOLD know this already, but we’ll say it anyways, Pete Grant is considered, and deservingly so, somewhat of a regional treasure when it comes to the reso guitar. He’s played with some of the best and he’ll be playing tonight at Friar Tuck's Restaurant and Bar tonight in Nevada City with Kelly Fleming and Juliet Gobert. They start at six-something and you’ll be inspired. The guy’s got musical synapses on his synapses. Click here

Wash your mouth out! I noticed on the Message Board a few days ago that we had a “deleted thread”. Haven’t seen one of those for a while. Ironically, its genesis was a post complementing someone on his well-crafted message about GETTING ALONG. What better topic to start a thread that would gradually swell and redden and churn until it was toxic enough to require deleting. And here’s the thing—it’s doubtful that there’s a single, solitary soul out there that doesn’t understand and accept the simple principle that if we’re going to play together we can’t politic together. I guess understanding and actually doing, or in this case, NOT doing, are just two different things.

Thank you, Fox News, for this little nugget--MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -Mount Pleasant High School athletic director Jim Conway is in shock. He's still trying to figure out why a 21-year-old would lie his way back to high school and play football. That's exactly what happened to his Oiler team this season. "Anytime you're duped or lied to, if you will, there's some frustration that comes with that. When it comes to something like this - an integrity issue - that becomes difficult to swallow," Conway said. James Nash, 21, used false documents to attend the school under the alias Javier Jones. He played five games for the football team. After the school received a tip from a concerned parent, Nash's true identity was discovered. He was immediately removed from the district. Now two Oiler victories may be forfeited.

Nashville Blind Item--MOLDGIRL has spoken and she came out of nowhere. I’m not asking any why’s or where from’s; don’t need no personal history or a vitae. I’ll just gratefully take what she dishes, to wit: “Nashville Blind Item: What amateur Nashville videographer/musician whose YouTube is circulating wildly right now – is in a BIG battle with which one of the musicians (from a band you all know) who was videoed for this particular video while ‘under the influence’ shall we say and said a whole bunch of things that he’d like to take back now but did give permission at the time for it to be used in the video.”

Riddle! What’s better than a really good banjo joke?--Answer: An entire song full of banjo jokes. BAN-JOKES is a new song by Michael Johnathon recorded live that includes more bad banjo jokes than you can shake a banjo at. The song was recorded with Howard's Creek bluegrass band. Even though the audience mics were left off, the overall recording is pretty good.
Prepare to laugh, or at least giggle. Thanks to Bryan Klausing at WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, PoetMan Records USA, Inc

Can’t ever have too much bluegrass music floating around the atmosphere.--In his new radio show launched last month David Thom plays his favorite bluegrass recordings, as well occasionally hosting live performances. Tune in! 91.3 FM in Sonoma or every Sunday at 11 am.

Just a little less popular than Bulgarian Throat Rattling--I read Chris Jones’ column at BluegrassToday fairly often. I find him opinionated and, for the most part, I tend to agree with his opinions. But the other day, when he presented his list of types of events that bluegrass bands SHOULDN’T play, I found myself squarely on the other side of the argument. Wrote Chris about bands playing weddings, “In general, though, there’s a reason this is number one on the list. I can’t think of an engagement (no pun intended), public or private, that is less suited to a bluegrass band. I also can’t think of a genre of music, with the possible exception of Gregorian chant or Mongolian throat-singing, that is less suited to a wedding gig.” Nope, Chris, have to disagree here, and vociferously. As a decades long semi-professional purveyor of bluegrass music, I can’t think of a more APPROPRIATE gig for bands to play. And here’s the reason: Everyone knows that the source of the greatest single argument during wedding planning is what kind of music will be played…people tend to dig their heels in on this one. In more instances than you could possibly believe, these near-disasters are averted by both sides agreeing to hire a band that NO ONE wants…a bluegrass band. And when no one wins, everybody wins. We used to think of it as a public service, and 7 receptions out of 10 served better food than any of us could have expected at home. Click here for Mr. Jones’ entire column.

Doomed dobro debacle--This will mean nothing to most people, but if you’re a reso soul or a rare instrument freak, it’ll be a heart breaker. The Dopyera Collection is to be auctioned off piece meal unless some angel steps up, and very soon.Click here

So, what in tarnation do Yale University and bluegrass and the CBA have to do with one another?Well, here’s what. Peter Salovey, who’s a banjo picker, Vice Chairman of the International Bluegrass Music Museum's board of trustees, a very close friend of member #1 Carl Pagter and a contributor to our collection of Hooked on Bluegrass stories, has just been name the new President of Yale University. CONGRATULATIONS Peter. So how did such a smart guy end up a banjo picker? Click here

It’s not healthy to form a grudge against a person, but it’s even worse to form one against a TV commercial--HP has performed that very special type of curse that can only be done by mega corporations with mega a budgets. We’re talking about the Officejet Pro sales campaign with annoying Bananarama song…it’s actually the Macarena song, but with its own special words, which are…you ready? ‘It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it.’ I’m sorry, but this just is not a philosophy of life and of work and of consumer products that I can get behind, and hearing this message set to the music of the last century’s most obnoxious songs, a song with its own dance routine, for God’s sake, is just…well…too much. So, you see, I do hold a grudge, I know it’s not good for me and yet I can’t shake it. I keep having this image of hiring someone to build a redwood deck in my backyard and giving him final instructions. ‘Now, listen Jack, it really doesn’t matter what you build. Could be anything, really. The wife and I are much more concerned with how you do it. No, really, just do whatever you want to do…we’ll be fine…just please, do it well.’

By the way, By-the-Bay Booking has become a regular MOLDY Mail Bag user--Dear Moldman, whoever the hell you are, here’s a nice story: Megan Lynch, my daughter, and her husband, Adam Chowning just had their first ever Nashville Flatpick Camp. Bill Rinehart who works for John and Pat Rumiano, the cheese people and CBA’ers went to it. All the way from California. He had a great time and camp was a big success. Looks like they’ll have another one in March. Kenny and Amanda taught at it and it turns out they really are America’s Sweetheart Couple. Here’s a link.

Now, if this doesn’t make your day…We don’t usually cut and paste FaceBook status here at the MOLD, but this one, well, it’s different. From Phil Leadbetter…"Getting ready to head out for ResoSummit in Nashville. So happy to be teaching there this year. I used to go to Nashville at least 2-3 times a month. I haven't been there since February when I went to Vanderbilt to see if my cancer could be cured. Last trip I was almost hopeless....this time I am well. Ain't God good !!!”

***An adventure just waiting to happen…maybe--There’s a note hanging on a wall at the San Gregorio General Store that reads ‘One of these days, half the folks here are going to arrest the other half—A. Vermillius Wormcan Let’s hope that doesn’t happen Saturday, when Harmony Grits starts its first set at 3:00 p.m. Click here to find out just where in the hell San Gregorio is. Who knows, this could be an adventure just waiting to happen.

***’A band without a discernable gimmick’; almost sounds like a challenge to show up at the show and watch for me--Peter Thompson write: It happens THIS SATURDAY (Nov. 10th) at the First Presbyterian Church of Mountain View. Redwod Bluegrass Associates presents the mighty Foghorn Stringband in concert! As many of you know, Foghorn is the band that sets the standard for contemporary old time (which is not an oxymoron) music. They play the old way, but they've been riding on the cutting edge for more than a decade. Co-founders Caleb Klauder (mandolin, vocal) and Sammy Lind (fiddle, vocal) are now joined by Nadine Landry (bass, vocal) and Reeb Willms (guitar, vocal) for music that incorporates bluegrass, Cajun, honky tonk, and originals into their distinctive brand of old time. It’ll cure what ails ya. The Portland Mercury writes…"Foghorn Stringband is among the finest practitioners of American old-time music on the globe, a string band whose faithful renditions of songs from bygone decades are no less than living, breathing history. That’s not to say they play museum pieces; Foghorn’s remarkable achievement is in making these careworn tunes sound vital, present, and fully relevant. Foghorn Stringband remain absolutely authentic and without discernible gimmick." See you there! (Pssst: old time -- as well as bluegrass -- jamming begins at 5 pm. Concert showtime: 7:30 pm)

***Jam in your neck of the woods? Tell the MOLDMAN--Heard from my first CBA area vp yesterday. Bill Schniederman, the central Mother Lode guy asked that we remind folks of the every other week Sonora Jam…second and fourth Fridays, which, low and behold, would be tonight. Bill tells me this jam has been going on for over ten years, though for most of them it was held at the Smoke Café in Jamestown. Now, he says, it’s moved to Mi Pueblo Restaurant on Sonora’s little main street. Oh, he told me one other thing…the Camerons Diablo will knock you on your butt, but you’ll get back in your chair and eat some more.

How about those kids-- Found in the Mold-Mail Bag from Richard Brooks…Photographer Karl Mondon of the San Jose Mercury News posted his photos of the Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association's 11th annual Youth Fiddle Contest held on November 4, 2012. These wonderful photos are at link. Be sure to view them while they are still online. Photos of the contestants in Division 1, 2, and 3 will be in the Fiddler's Rag, our monthly publication. Back issues of the Rag are available at the [Newsletter] link on the left side of the website. The following contestants are named in Karl's photos (listed here alphabetically by first name):

Doniella Dumont, 7
Edward Ross, 11
Gilford Ting, 8
Jerry Wong, 8
Katherine Kline, 7
Lexie Cotterel, 4
Ronald Sit, 8
Sophine Wong, 6

In search of the northwest passage? Well, I suppose in their off hours they’ll have time to do a little of that, but mainly the Kathy Kallick Band his headed up the Pacific coast to play some fine music and promoted their new CD project, Time, on their Northwest Tour. Here’s the deal…

Fri., Nov 16 (7:30 pm)
Carvlin Hall - 1636 SE Hickory (just north of SE 17th & Division), Portland OR
Presented by the Portland FolkMusic Society

Sat., Nov. 17 (7:30 pm)
Phinney Neighborhood Center - 6532 Phinney Avenue N (at N 67th St.), Seattle, WA
Presented by the Seattle Folklore Society

Sun., Nov. 18 (2:00 pm)
Nancy's Farm - 2030 E. Smith Rd., Bellingham, WA

NOTE: Acoustic bass maestro Cary Black will be joining Kathy, Annie, Tom, and Greg for all three of these shows!

Now, you five, if you do happen to stumble on the Great Northwest Passage, for God’s sake let someone know. A discovery like that could, heck, open the west up or something.

Hey, those dates work for me--The folks at the International Bluegrass Music Association have spoken…September 24-28 in Raleigh, N.C. is when we’ll once again have the chance to experience bluegrass wonderland. Information on how to make hotel reservations will be available in December 2012.

Our first Music Camp Scholarship donation of the year--Got this note from our Assistant Treasurer, Val Cornejo who was writing back and forth with one of our web site sponsors over a refund owing him. “Hello Val, How about this? It will make things easier for me if the CBA can work with this. Put $140 towards the e-band page tile and with the $60 balance make a $30 donation to each of the Music Camp Scholarship fund and the DJKLL (Darrel Johnston Kids Lending Library. Dave” Now, we understand that the writer CLAIMED the donation was to make things easier ‘book keeping-wise, but we think we know the real reason. Pickers have heart!

”Alt-Grass”…a rose by any other name--Joe Ross, prolific Bluegrass Breakdown CD reviewer, shared his thoughts about ‘alt-Grass” on the “L” recently, and in the process promoted a new band from up his way…Congrats to Portland band Wayward Vessel on a "highlight review" (by Richard D. Smith) in this month's Bluegrass Unlimited magazine! Wow, that's so cool to see BU recognize a band from out west in my state in this manner. Heard them (as only a trio) at last July's Siskiyou Bluegrass & Folk Festival (at Lake Selmac) and really enjoyed them. I uploaded a YouTube video of them from that show. An excerpt of the BU review says "Is there an emerging style that we can call 'alternative bluegrass'? .... But alternative bluegrass is definitely emerging as a distinctive variety of bluegrass, one that is proving pleasing to a wide spectrum of the music's fans. It embraces folk music at its core, its bands typically exhibit beautifully blended vocals, spry picking, ear-catching syncopations, and refreshingly creative original songwriting. So if the altenative bluegrass sound has perked up your ears, add to the list of its most enjoyable practitioners the wonderful Oregon-based band Wayward Vessel." What do you all think about "alternative bluegrass"? I've heard alt-folk, alt-rock and alt-country ... I guess it was a matter of time before someone suggested we also have alt-bluegrass. Bluegrass Unlimited used to group those reviews into a category called "On The Edge." Pique on,

Means flea in Portuguese, fulfillment in Santacruzeez--The Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz...Click here

Tea, anyone? Looking for a refined jam to attend, a gathering where tea from real tea pots and cups is served, where finger food is more likely to be crumpets than baby back ribs, where Irish music wafts rather than vibrates through the establishment? Give a try to Columbia Kate’s Teahouse this Sunday. Click here

The original antidote to the outlaw--You may not have known it, but you happen to be living in the Roy Rogers Centennial. Now that you, partner, do something about it please. Click here

Reader complaint lodged via Mold-Mail-Bag--“Dear Moldman, I like a lot of what you write in your More or Less Daily, but I gotta tell you, man, some of your pieces are just too damned long. Try to cut the items down or else accept the fact that some of us just won’t read ‘em. Know what I mean? Signed No-Fan-of-Reading-Friggin’-Novels.” Dear No-Fan, yes, I think I know what you mean and yes, I’ll work on being a little less verbose…may take a while. So in the meantime, I suggest that you, and those who have the same concerns, just read every third word. Let me give you an example…Dear No-(), yes, I () I know () you mean () yes, I’ll () on being () little less () …may take () while. So () the meantime, () suggest that (), and those () have the () concerns, just () every third (). Let me () you an (). There, now that took one-third the time and I’m sure you got the gist of it, more or less.

Get your check book out--You don’t have to necessarily believe that Time’s list of the Best Inventions in 2012 really are the best to enjoy the textual/visual survey they’re put together. But be warned, you’ll want to buy some of this stuff. We here at the MOLD have taken out a second mortgage to purchase ourselves an indoor cloud machine. Click here
A couple mountain laurel branches--Barwick & Siegfried — Saturday, November 10 at 6:00pm at Union Square Building 530-205-9513 151 Mill Street, Grass Valley. "
"Barwick and Siegfried combine years of experience into a highly-entertaining duet sound that ranges from the Monroe Brothers and other “brother duets” of the 1930s to such iconic modern partnerships as Buddy & Julie Miller and Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. Kathy (guitar, dobro, mandolin, lead and harmony vocals) and Pete (mandolin, lead and harmony vocals), blend bluegrass, old-time country, traditional Irish and folk into an engaging Americana fusion."

The moldy mail bag--Hello, just a note to let you know B&L will be playing in Berkeley 11/7- Wednesday - at Le Bateau Ivre. The show starts at 7PM.. Sue Shelasky Walters will be sitting in on bass. AND we have our regular Willowbrook Ale House gig every Thursday (Except Thanksgiving) from 7PM until 9:30PM. The whole band will be there this Thursday, we often have sit ins of traveling musicians...A couple of weeks ago we had David Grier for two sets, a young guitarist from Japan Hiroshi Arakawa, and Riley Hill (an upcoming player) So you never know who might be there and the food is GOOD! Thanks, Ed

Here’s something we bet you didn’t know--Melvin Goins is the only bluegrass musician to have ever been on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. Why, you ask? Have you every heard of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers…yup, Melvin was one of the founders. And of course he played with Ralph Stanley and also with Bill Monroe. In 1999 Melvin formed his own band, Windy Mountain, and they’ve been going strong ever since. So here’s the really, really big news. He and his band are headlining at Grass Valley this year. Oh, and who can tell me the significance of the band’s name? Anybody? Anybody?

One of those mark your calendar deals--From Roger Siminoff down central coast way. “Dear music friends...I am excited to announce that we will be hosting another house concert, this one featuring Eddie and Martha Adcock on March 21, 2013. As many of you know, Eddie Adcock was the banjo player with the famed group The Country Gentlemen whose configuration from 1960-1964 featured Charlie Waller, Eddie Adcock, John Duffey, and Tom Gray. In my estimation, this was one of the finest bluegrass bands ever, and I attribute much of that to Eddie Adcock who I believe is one of the finest banjo players ever. So, when I say that I'm "excited" to have Eddie and Martha at out home for a concert, I am really excited. To top it off, Eddie has agreed to give a one-hour banjo workshop if I can assemble enough banjo pickers interested in learning from this master. It will be held at our home on the afternoon of Thursday, March 21, 2013 and the cost is $30.00 per person (which I think is a dynamite bargain). If you are interested in attending this banjo workshop, please respond by this Friday, November 2, 2012. I need to have an early headcount so Eddie can plan his schedule. More info will follow about the concert that evening - you do not have to respond now about your interest in the concert. Hope to see you then...Best Roger”

This deal won’t last, folks--Danny Booth Big Bass Bonanza Bargain No BullClick here

Don’t be shy, Martha, tell us how you really feel--Martha Hearon Adcock DEAR NFL – (Never mind how I feel about the Titans’ pitiful season or the state of modern country music) – While watching the Titans-Bears football game broadcast from the host city of Nashville today, I heard one of the announcers mention between plays that the Country Music Association’s annual awards had recently been held, whereupon another announcer sarcastically and gratuitously opined, “Yeah, one of about fifteen of those things they have.”
In comparison, I wonder how he would like it if WE so publicly dissed the Super Bowl and insinuated that football is worthless! His rude statement was untrue, unwarranted, and offensive; and I believe he owes an apology to the CMA, to Nashville, and to the country (-it’s a big umbrella many consider to cover bluegrass-) musicians and fans for his disrespecting and dismissing what we do and love and enjoy. He ought to learn from his gaffe.

Tom L Gray Response--Although that announcer was rude toward the CMA and all musical awards, I truly can not muster any respect for the CMA. The "Country Music Association" is not country at all. I agree with George Jones who said he prefers real country music to the stuff that the CMA represents. Remember "Murder on Music Row".

Excellent. Fabulous. Delightful. Every musician would benefit--That’s how some folks are describing Chris Henry’s new doc…”Formlessness Into Form is a documentary exploring creativity with a focus on flow and dreaming. Through over forty interviews with some of Nashville's most creative minds, a narrative emerges starting with where the energy comes from, how it feels to work with it, what can be good and bad for flow, how substances can influence, what creating with others can be like, the advantages and journey of finding one's own voice, how the ego plays into the process, on down to specific advice for folks just beginning to consciously unlock their own creativity, how the ego plays into the process, on down to specific advise for folks just beginning to unlock their own creativity.Click here, but only if you want to get in touch with your inner creative self.

Happy belated birthday, Jerry--Since the MOLD wasn’t yet born, (hadn’t formed in the petri dish, so to speak), we were unable to report this in a timely manner…San Rafael, Calif. and New York, N.Y. — Award-winning mandolinist and music producer David Grisman announced today the HD release of the 1991 Grammy-nominated Garcia/Grisman album, as well as Garcia/Grisman - Alternate.Click here
You say you want to live here? You say you like all the stuff we have, and get to be proud of, and get to look forward to, and get to do without being arrested and tossed into a concentration camp?Okay, that’s cool. You can stay. Just two things: 1) vote; and 2) stand behind whoever wins.

From the moldy MOLDMAN mail box--Greetings, Moldman. I hope that you are doing great and good luck is with you. I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself and the Earl Brothers (San Francisco)...depending on who you talk to, we're the most "Loved / Hated" group in bluegrass...You be the judge! I am excited to announce our 5th cd "OUTLAW HILLBILLY" is available at CD-Baby.

So, what does English sound like to non-English speakers? We MOLD people were amazed at how much nothing sounds like something very familiar, but not quite. Prisencolinensinainciusol, a huge hit for Italian pop star Adriano Celentano back in 1972Click here

Eating crow after your guy loses the election is passé. Fish or BBQ is so much more civilized --Jim Mintun writes…”Hey! night, Slide Road will be playing at Phil's Fish Market from 6:00 to 8:00. I know it's election night, but listen - THIS is important: It will be Matt Kendall's last gig with us for a long time, so you MUST come see us and wish him a swell time in Stockholm! He's moving there for a year or two and we're gonna miss him. Hailey Pexton will be playing mandolin with us. Hope to see you there! Slide Road is Matt Kendall, Louise Sully Mintun, and me, with this month's guest Hailey Pexton.” And on the other side of the hill it’s Bean Creek at Sam’s BBQ in Campbell. And either place you can wash your blues away with a couple of cold ones or celebrate, whichever the case may be.

Triviality is in the eye of the beholder--Bert the Magnificent's Bluegrass Trivia Question for the Month of November…What was the name of the luthier who made the copy of the Gibson F5 mandolin that Vern Williams played? Good luck on this one. If you know the answer or even think you do, send your response to me directly at Don't post your answer on the message board even though you may be dying to show everybody how smart you are by knowing the answer to this obscure Bluegrass trivia question. The only person I know who is smart enough to answer this question for sure is JD Rhynes. He sent me the question and is therefore ineligible. Sorry, JD. You've had a pretty good run recently on the trivia challenge. Thanks for the question. Click here

Say what you will about his politics, he rode around in one very cool boat--The fund-raising benefit concert series will come to an end next week on the USS Potomac, FDR’s yacht anchored over in Alameda. Since June, the Potomac has featured the likes of High Country, Blue and Lonesome, Savannah Blue, Bill Evans, and the Kathy Kathy Kallick Band. On the 12th the spotlight will shine on the Alisa Rose Trio. Come listen to some awfully good music and in the process keep that damned boat floating. Click here

Buy the Brooklyn Bridge or…--move to Oregon and get a job as a guitar instructor at Guitar Center for $150,000. Click here

More moldy mail--Hello Moldman. Enjoying the Mold bunches. Please see attached for immediate release. Helen Highwater will debut with a special appearance at The Fiddle House in East Nashville on Sunday December 2. Demo CD will be ready for release mid-December. Thanks, Maria, Maria E. Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking… FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Helen Highwater: The Band. Nashville, TN (November 1, 2012) – It was just another night in Nashville: four friends—revered acoustic musicians—got together in a living room. The music bounced, danced, gathered strength, and lifted them in a way that only happens with the right players. So, they formed a band and named it Helen Highwater—the tough, whimsical goddess of string band music. It’s David Grier on guitar, Missy Raines on bass, Mike Compton on mandolin, Shad Cobb on fiddle, and power vocals from all four, now available for booking. These are musicians who have performed for decades. Their music is rooted but not frozen, recognizable but not predictable, comfy but not smug. It’s also a steel-railed groove of steam-powered drive—Gid Tanner and Bill Monroe stoking the coal car and one band barreling ahead, eyes around the curve.

Muffin madness from Portsmouth to Pensacola--Rhonda Vincent, who’ll be headlining at Grass Valley in June, doesn’t just travel in the Martha White Bluegrass Express. No, no, folks, she bakes mighty fine muffins toolin’ down the highway. And pancakes, which she says ‘the boys love.’ Have a look.

Another good one coming up in central CA--We’re hearing more and more about bluegrass emanating from the mid-state region, to wit, a note from Phil Salazar, long a California fiddle phenom…It's Friday November the 16th; Jonathan McEuen / Phil Salazar / Nathan McEuen . Randy Tico and Special Guests / A Brand New Opry, Blu-Ray release / Friday November 16th / 7:30pm / Plaza Playhouse Theather / Carpinteria, Ca / 805.684.6380 / $25

You say you’re not feeling well? This could be the big one? GET THEE TO THE BAJA! The Baja Taqueria Jam is one of those bluegrass institutions that no self-respecting fanatic of the genre can possibly afford not to attend at least once before she/he dies. It’s on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, the last we heard it was hosted by Tom Lucas and you’ll always find some good pickers there. And it just so happens this happening jam is happening TONIGHT. Click here to reads all about it.

Testograss, anyone? Reports Andy Hall, noted reso player with the String Dusters…”Welp it finally happened. Two peeps having sex in the front row of our show. The guy is singing along to our songs, so that's something. Let's see what's in store for set dos.”

You don’t miss your Carlin till your Larry runs dry--We here at MOLDMAN News (term used lightly) Services Inc. have gotten some pretty positive feed back since we took over the news section last month, and believe me, we appreciate it. But that said, trust us when we say that, despite the nice words, we suffer no illusions. It was Larry Carlin who for three years delivered the goods and in the process set the standard to which we strive. Here then, is Larry’s farewell post from three years ago. Friday, December 31, 2010b>Happy ending -- Happy New Year to everyone! There are strung-out streamers, confetti, and empty Champagne bottles strewn about the Almost Daily News office here in downtown San Francisco. Not just because we are celebrating the end of 2010, but also, as it turns out-–at least for the time being – because I am celebrating the end of my time here as the writer of this column. What began as an experiment on a tentative basis on November 10, 2007, has now run for three plus years, but due to circumstances beyond my control, this is my final column. In short, real life has gotten in the way, and I have less and less time to write anymore, mostly due to day job commitments. It is possible that I may just be going on a hiatus, sabbatical, or whatever you want to call it. But for now, after 466,154 words and 466 columns, this is the end. The hope here is that some of you got some pleasure out of reading the column from time to time during my tenure. Happy trails to you, until we meet again…

Well he’s certainly famous to me--A note from Joe Weed…” Spoiler Alert! Well, OK… self promotion alert: My composition “Hymn to the Big Sky,” originally recorded on my American Portrait album, can be heard in Ken Burns’ new film, “The Dust Bowl,” which premieres November 18 and 19, 2012 (8:00–10:00 p.m. ET) on PBS.”

Bluegrass Bluesman--When a book like Bluegrass Bluesman; Josh Graves, a Memoir, hits the stands there’s probably nobody better writing about our music today to tell you about it than Chris Stuart. That’s because he knows the music and he knows writing. Here’s just a bit of what he says…” Expertly edited by Fred Bartenstein with help from a lot of good folks, which I’ll come back to in a minute, it also includes never-before-published photos and 24 tributes from musicians and friends, many of which were compiled by Betty Wheeler in 2001 for an honorary presentation to Josh. But what makes this book so compelling is the voice of Burkett “Buck” “Uncle Josh” Graves himself.” Click here to read the rest…then buy the book.

David Letterman knows all about clawhammer banjo and has a bridge to sell you over New York City’s Hudson River--You may have caught this month before last, but we didn’t so we thought we’d pass it around now. Never too late for announcing a banjo award. Segment from The Late Show (2012 09 24), Steve Martin honors Mark Johnson with his third annual banjo award, featuring Emory Lester on the six string. Click here

Up in the Lode this week--Nell Robinson’s Soldier Stories: November 10, 800 PM, Sutter Creek Theater, 44 Main St, Sutter Creek, 916-425-0077,, $20….and…Hill Country: November 11 & 12, 100 - 400 PM, Kids Inc Apple Orchard, 3205 N Canyon Rd (#5 on the Apple Hill map), Camino, 530-621-0184,, no cover.

California woman wants roadside memorial to honor fish--IRVINE, Calif.—Animal activists want a California roadside memorial sign to honor fish killed during a container truck crash. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals volunteer Dina Kourda told Irvine's street maintenance chief the sign would remind drivers that fish value their lives and feel pain. About 1,600 pounds of saltwater bass died on Oct. 11 when the truck hauling them to market got into a three-way crash. Kourda's letter acknowledges roadside memorials traditionally honor humans, but she hopes an exception will be made. Irvine spokesman Craig Reem says there won't be a fish memorial.

Turkeygrass you ask? You betcha, Right up to and through the day of the bird.

Nov. 20: Cabin Fever - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Nov. 20: David Thom Band - Sweetwater, Mill Valley
Nov. 21: Sidesaddle & Co. - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Nov. 21: Whiskey Brothers - Albatross Pub, Berkeley
Nov. 22: Thanksgiving!
Nov. 23: The Dim Lights - Pacifica Moose Lodge
Nov. 24: Laurie Lewis - Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
Nov. 24: Beargrass Creek - Mission Pizza, Fremont
Nov. 26: The Earl Brothers - Amnesia, SF

Einstein of mandolin maybe? Well, who knows, but it’s certainly in the realm of possibility. Chris Thile may not be the best who ever lived…and the theory of relativity could very well be Albert’s hash dream. Who’s to say? Chris We invite you to form an opinion. Click here

Name your new restaurant: combine the first food type listed in the last recipe you followed and the last animal you fed at the zoo--The Spice Monkey Restaurant on Webster Street in Oakland calls itself a ‘family-friendly, local oasis of fresh food, animated conversation and amazing entertainment.’ We’ll start with a sampling of the dinner menu--ARMADILLO EGG OVER LINGUINI, ARGENTINIAN CHIMICHURRI STEAK and LINCOLN LOG FISH & CHIPS. Hard to know what to say about the conversation…animated sounds okay to me. As for the amazing entertainment, if you stop in on Friday the ninth you’ll hear Redwing, a band that certainly knows its way around bluegrass, despite the fact that these five DO NOT have a banjo player…by design or for the want of we’re not sure. Good band, though.Click here for more about the Spice Monkey, its food and its events.

Okay, now that the dust has settled and the ice plants are starting to come back--Direct from the folks at BayBridged, a good review, with photos, of this year’s Hardly Strictly, sub-titled “Keepin’ Up with the Jones”Click here

The patience of Job--Did you know…no, of course you didn’t, so why bother asking? Let me just tell you. Once a tick egg hatches and the little bug, actually a member of the same family as spiders, grows his eight legs and his, or her, sex organs, he sets out on a quest to find the highest possible point he can find. Which is usually at the very tippy-top of a blade of grass. Once Mr. Tick, or Ms. Tick, whichever the case may be, reaches the top he secures a good grip with all eight legs and there he waits until a warm blooded mammal happens by. So here’s the good part of the story, the part we down here at the MOLD felt was so compelling we should run it by you…that tick can wait as long as two years for lunch to walk by. And you think YOU’VE been kept waiting too long at Burger King? (Oh, how's the story end? Well, said tick gorges on blood till it's about to burst, then drops off the host, finds another, appropriate tick, mates and dies. An existential bummer, but you don't hear the ticks complaining. Click here

Trying to stay one jump ahead, but it ain’t easy sometimes--This JUST in from relx…“Punch Brothers will release Ahoy! on November 13. Ahoy! is a collection of five songs from the Who’s Feeling Young Now? recording sessions, produced by Jacquire King. The EP includes three covers (“Another New World” by Josh Ritter, “Down Along the Dixie Line” by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and “Icarus Smicarus” by Mclusky), the band’s arrangement of the traditional tune “Moonshiner” and a new instrumental track “Squirrel of Possibility.”Click here

Chico never sounded or tasted so good--We’ve heard from
John Hettinger, CBA Sacramento Area Activities VP, that there’s a mightily fine show up in Butte County coming up…Rita Hosking and Cousin Jack plus The Railflowers: November 12, 730 PM, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, 1075 E 20th St, Chico, 530-893-3520,, $20. Buffet dinner at 600 PM for $12.50

A field trip to guitar central--Gryphon's Brian Michael and Derek See paid a visit to Collings guitar in Austin and brought back some video. Gryphon’s in Palo Alto has been doing their thing for a long, long time. So long, in fact, that some of us whose lives revolve around stringed instruments may have forgotten how fortunate we are to have this resource right smack dab in the middle of our community, always there, always on the cutting edge, always willing to help. Thanks, Gryphon. Click to You-Tube Visit Highlights

What the…a fund-raiser for a yacht? --Well, it’s true. The USS Potomac was built in 1934 as the Coast Guard cutter Electra. The 165-foot vessel, displacing 416 tons with cruising speeds of 10 to 13 knots, was commissioned as a U.S. Navy vessel in 1936, renamed the USS Potomac, and served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidential Yacht until his death in 1945. Later, she was owned by the likes of Elvis Presley, was eventually used as a front for drug smuggling, impounded by the Feds, sunk off Treasure Island, raised for scrap iron, towed over to Alameda and eventually restored to all her glory. Which, of course, cost, and costs, money. Hence the fund-raider. November 7: Alisa Rose & Friends - USS Potomac, Jack London Square, Oakland. Click here.

A little drum roll please…We just can’t seem to get enough top ten lists this millennia. Whether they’re from David Letterman or the American Institute for Jelly Bean Awareness, the lists keep piling up. Not to be outdone, the has recently presented its Top Ten Tunes for flattpickers. And the winners are…Blackberry Blossom; Whiskey Before Breakfast; Red Haired Boy; Wildwood Flower; Salt Creek; Black Mountain Rag; Soldier's Joy; Foggy Mountain Breakdown; Billy in the Low Ground; and Bill Cheatham. The list was compiled via a balloting process on the site and, I think most would agree, there just aren’t any real surprises.

Call to the election booths--In a startling break with tradition, we’re going forward with our November jam session, despite the fact that it’s scheduled the day after a presidential election. We found the general hullaballoo around the quadrennial contest rather distracting, and cancelled the jam in 2004 and 2008. But this year, we figure that however the election turns out, folks need some way to celebrate their victories and/or commiserate over their losses, and we’re happy to provide just the right mood at…The Bluegrass Country Jam; Wednesday, November 7;
Hosted by Jeanie and Chuck at the Plough and Stars; 8:30 – 11. Click here

Ah, spring is in the air--Well, actually, spring is not in the air. Not even close to being in the air. But powerful reassurance that it will roll around again popped up on the CBA web site yesterday, and that’s the newly added page on which you can purchase your EARLY BIRD TICKETS to the 38th Annual Fathers Day Festival. Click here

Little wonder, he’d be selling cars right now if it weren’t for the great one.--Not surprisingly, Byron Berline publicly thanks Bill Monroe with his new CD, Byron Berline thanks Bill Monroe.Click here

And you thought learning to play the five-string was easy LAST century--From the BANJO NEWSLETTER; Learning to Play Banjo in the New Millennium by Ian Perry…It took Ian twelve years to get this all on paper but, hey, he did an excellent job. Ian’s point, of course, is that learning to play the banjo today just isn’t like it was in your daddy’s day, and he makes that point pretty compellingly. Digital technology has knocked the crap out of a fair amount of the torture factor in learning. This is worth a read if you can find ten minutes. Click here

The right way to do wrong--Originally published in 1906, the Right Way to Do Wrong was a masterclass in subversion conducted by the world’s greatest illusionist, Harry Houdini. It collected his findings, from interviews with criminals and police officers, on the most surefire ways to commit crime and get away with it. This is must reading for anyone interested in learning the intricacies of five-finger Scruggs style banjo…or for those who have been out of work more than eighteen months. Click here

You gotta love the Miwok Band of Indians, bless their hearts--The Black Oak Casino has announced that Frank Solivan Jr. and Dirty Kitchen will play at its Willow Creek Lounge in December…we’ll pass along the date when it’s firmed up. Allen O’Brien, Casino booking guy and a GOOD FRIEND of bluegrass, also shares that the Lonesome River Band will be there in February and Dale Ann Bradley in April. Take it from one who knows his dens of iniquity, the Black Oak is a class joint.

’Mostly simply’ seems oxymoronic, but then again, it doesn’t--I’m told that some guy who used to work here will be doing a show called Larry Carlin's Mostly Simply Bluegrass Night at Murphy's Irish Pub in Sonoma on November 9.

"My recent experiment affords undeniable proof of the Earth's unglobularity, because it rests not on transitory vision; but my proof remains printed on the negative of the photograph which Mr.Clifton took for me, and in my presence, on behalf of J.H.Dallmeyer, Ltd. A photograph can not 'imagine' nor lie!" This is the final paragraph of a brief description of Bernard H.Watsonu’s 1907 experiment to prove the world is flat. This and many, many other proofs of the unglobularness of planet earth can be found on the web site of the Flat Earth Society. With a worldwide membership of over three thousand people, the society’s primary mission is to debunk the centuries-old conspiracy perpetrated by SCIENTISTS. Oh, and no, this is not made up. Click here

Down and out in Marin County--Well, I’m happy to say I finally got to meet my predecessor, Larry Carlin. Frankly he looked a little worse for the wear, but I guess this daily news job takes its toll. Best to you, Larry. Click here

Mix it up with a little fresh dill, some mayo and one whole Jason and, mmm, you’re got to go--Leftover Salmon Welcomes Special Guests for Thanksgiving Click for recipe.

A very excellent reason to head for the hills--Friday, November 9 Chris Webster and Nina Gerber at the Black Bart Theater in Murphy’s 7:30pm for tickets go to.

Calm down, please, calm down. The government didn’t pay for this study--Mumford's Gentlemen of the Road Economic Impact Study Revealed. Click here

Fifteen bucks…you can’t beat that price for this band with a stick--Foghorn Stringband at the Palms Playhouse in Winters; November 9, 830 PM, $15.

In the far away, wondrous land of Middle California--50 Years In the Bluegrass, held at Santa Barbara's Lobvero Theatre, Friday, November 2nd at 8:00 PM, celebrates Peter Feldmann's long career as a performer, collector, and presenter of bluegrass, old-time, folk, and blues music in Southern California. The concert will recreate some of Santa Barbara's folk music history, featuring many of Peter's musical friends and associates, including violinist Jim Wimmer, bluesmen Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan with Alastair Greene, Rick Cunha, and David Jackson (Mother's Boys), Tom Lee, David West, and Blaine Sprouse (The Very Lonesome Boys), Francine Feldmann, and 3-time National Fiddle Champion Byron Berline, a Lifetime Achievement Award winner this year at IBMA. I mean, like, how could you NOT go? Click here

The best line-up we’ve never announced--So, you could say this was a newsless news item. GREAT line-up at the CBA’s Sonoma Bluegrass Festival comminng up…March 10th. And I mean GREAT! Problem is, I’m told I can’t announce it yet. One more band to book. A big band. So mum’s the word, but please, mark this date. This’ll be a hot one.

He loves the yellows and oranges because that’s the color of carrots--Justin isn’t your typical nationally-known abstract painter…he’s only nine years old. Oh, and he’s a horseClick here. Oh, and there’s a warning: the jerks at make you watch a short commercials before Justin comes on. Just do what I do and cover your eyes and ears.

Well, somebody had to do it, right?One of the MOLD’s unpaid interns, Izzy, stumbled upon a web called Their mission? To promote and disseminate information about REAL country music, the underground country music movement, as well as the underground and DIY movements of roots, rockabilly, bluegrass, blues, and some folk music. It offers news, opinion, concert and album reviews, artist profiles, music history, and occasional off-color pop country bashing. Hmm, wonder if they can tell us what real bluegrass music is.
In any event, click here to see if you think they’re succeeding with their raison d’etre.

Wood, wire and glass--Find a way to carve six minutes and nineteen seconds out of your day and treat yourself to Slide Melody with Bottle Neck Dobro Mandolin, Played by Alan M. BondClick here

Only three kinds--There are three kinds of people in this world: people who like Old-Time Music, or love it; people who don’t like Old-Time Music, or hate it; and people who don’t know whether they like it or not because, frankly, they’re not sure what it is. Chances are if you visit the CBA site relatively often, you’re in either the first or second group. However, we, (my ever-increasing staff and I), are aware that some MOLD readers really don’t know what OTM is…or aren’t exactly sure if they know. To those folks I say, let me introduce you to the Old-Time Rambler, aka Jeff Crawford, aka Masha’s husband who knows more about the genre than you’d want to shake a stick at. Click here

Like, man, do you even CARE? --If you don’t care what’s being played on the radio bluegrass-wise, this would be a good spot to skip to the next item. If you do, click here. And if you REALLY care, bookmark this page. There, I’ve done my duty.

They’re baaaaaaack--Remember G2? Swedish band that crushed at Grass Valley not long ago. Well, the band, not one of them a full time musician, took a little brake after spending quite a bit of time in the U.S., but they’re back at it now, stronger than ever. Somebody ought to tell the movers and shakers we’d like to see them back at the FDF. Click here

The falling leaves drift by the window…The autumn leaves, all red and gold--But not all leaves are what they appear to be. Please, humor me and click here

North Coast match service…sort of--The Coffee Catz Saturday Afternoon Jam. Consistently good place to connect with other pickers, and has been for years and years. Click here

We hate cancer--The folks from Sidesaddle asked the Moldman to say a big thanks to everyone who came for and or otherwise supported the Ingrid Daviod Horgan Benefit. It was a screaming success and proved once again that we’re members of an awesome bluegrass family.

A dream coming true? As far back as anyone can remember, if you gave her half a chance Darby Brandli could bend your ear for half an hour about the importance of the California Bluegrass Association staging a music camp just for kids. It would be for beginners, she would tell you. It would be inexpensive, it would be done in conjunction with the Fathers Day Festival and it would build on the success of the Kids on Bluegrass Program and the Darrell Johnston Kids Lending Library. Well, it looks like our friend is closing in on her dream. Nothing solid to report yet but we may just see Madame President’s vision become a reality come next June. Stayed tuned friends…and stay obsessed, Darby.

Sometimes you can spot ‘em a mile away--And that’s certainly true of Jesse Personeni, Angela’s son and a young kid who’s pretty likely to become a monster picker before he’s old enough to vote. Tore it up at the CBA Fall Camp Out. What instrument, you ask? Name one.

A day late and a dollar short--I don’t know how we missed this one yesterday. October 30, 1906, Albert Shutt of Topeka, Kansas awarded U.S. Patent #834416 for a "new and useful tuner" for mandolin. Thank you, Mandolin Café!

If he had a hammer, he’d hammer, well, pretty much all of the time --Pretty good piece on Pete Seeger the other day over at NPR, not to be confused with yellow bird flaunting PBS. Writes, record producer David Bernz, “"Almost every time that Pete interacted with the mass media, on some level they spit him back. The Almanacs [Seeger's 1940s folk group], they got on the radio, and then immediately, people criticized their politics and they were off. The Weavers were on the radio; they got blacklisted. He gets a Columbia Records contract, but then he finds out they're keeping his records in the warehouse. The Smothers Brothers even want to edit him out.” Well, I’m not sure about that last part…seems a little out of character for Dicky and Tommy…but nonetheless the seven minute audio story on 93 year old Seeger is pretty good listening. Click here and see if you agree.

So, like, what’s a Peet’sPick anyway? As I enter into my second week of MOLDING I find I’m starting to make the acquaintance of some of the regulars around here. Just met Mark Peet, originator of the “Peet’sPick” feature and a regular contributor of news items each day. He’s a tall, lanky, bearded guy, solid banjo player, with a darkly mischievous sense of humor and a red-headed, fiddle playing lady friend named Julie. Oh, and Mark is a beekeeper and, unless I misunderstood him, a former shepherd. My next objective is to meet this J.D. Rhynes feller; I’ve been practicing deference, but it don’t come easy.

Lots of facets to this music of ours--Joe Weed is on the road…”I just attended a wonderful little private concert by fiddle Alan Jabbour, greatly enriched by his commentary and stories. Cece Conway, of NCU, put together a great session on African American banjo roots, and Alan's fiddle contributions were excellent. Joe Hickerson, who helped me so much with research at the Library of Congress, sat quietly drinking it all in. Dyann Arthur, Irene Watt, Maggie Holtzberg, and other folklorists were there too, listening to the informative and entertaining talk.” We’re lucky to have a guy like Joe, gifted musician, song writer, studio engineer, film producer and documentarian in our midst. Which reminds me, have you seen the video he and Skip Curry did about the Fathers Day Festival? It’s pretty spectacular. Click here

We got a classy operation going on here, folks--It has been brought to my attention by the web team leader, who is, by the way, self-appointed I believe, that a few folks have complained about the MOLD’s predisposition toward sensationalism. Well, let me say that I resent the allegation and I resent the alligator. Please note that I HAVE NOT reported on the following stories nor do I intend to even mention them…traffic stalled in snail spill, van stolen with 12 coffins, 12 bodies inside, Alanis Morissette music triggers domestic violence, woman sets malfunctioning vending machine on fire, and another woman is charged with driving under the influence of hand sanitizer. I rest my case. Click here

New break through in computer modeling leads to historical Presidential election forecast--Dr. David Maxwell, team leader of a diverse collection of computer scientists, political scientists, sociologists and mathematicians held a press conference earlier this week at Syracuse University School of Public Policy the findings of a study so remarkable in its confidence variability that it has rocked America’s research community. Said Maxwell, “Our revolutionary new type of computer model, “Evaluative Election Cycle Kaltostat, (EECK), predicts at a 99.9021% probability factor that: 1) either Barrack Obama or Mitt Romney will win the election and 2) that life as we know it will continue.Click here

There’s a cabin on the mountain far away in…Miami?--Well, actually the cabin for two is in a ship that will depart Miami and then head for the Caribbean where it will create its own little slice of bluegrass heaven for about a week. Sound good? Well, it gets better…the Steep Canyon Rangers are giving away a cabin for two aboard the Mountain Song at Sea Bluegrass festival at sea! Click here unless you get sea sick.

Well, they’ve got to come down once in a while just to get provisions--Yes, you heard right, the Sonoma Mountain Band is descending into the flat lands Friday night to play at Murphy’s. Click here

So, how many people do you know…--who are among the top five best people in the world at anything? Well, there may be one and you never even knew it. Google around and you’ll find that Tina Louise Bar is ranked as one of the best autoharp players on the planet. And she just taken yet another award. Read all about.

Stylin’ Tim Edes…If you attended the Plymouth Festival over the past several years you’ll know that this is the billing Tim received as one of the show’s MC’s, and too you’ll know that it was gratuitous. Sue dresses that boy up real nice. But alas, for you who believed our suffering was over, that we’d finally belong to an organization who’s highest ranking officer wasn’t the type of individual who would wear tank tops from mid-February till after the Christmas holiday, I may have some bad news. Stylin’ Tim has announced on the Message Board that now that he’s been elected to serve as chairman of the board he’ll be “going out to buy some tank tops.” A joke, you say? I’m not so sure. And let’s just hope this is the only habit he’ll pick up from the last guy. Read it yourself.
Posted:  11/1/2012

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